Plea Deal for School Shooting Suspect?

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Jacksboro, Campbell County (WVLT) - Campbell County school shooting suspect Kenny Bartley Junior won't be back in court for about a month, but published reports earlier this week speculated he may be offered a plea deal.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt spoke with the district attorney general on the case.

District Attorney General Paul Phillips told WVLT Wednesday, there has been absolutely no talk of 15-year-old Kenny Bartley Junior getting a plea deal.

In a statement released this afternoon to Volunteer TV, Paul Phillips says "there has been no plea offer in this case. Plea discussions would take place November 6th."

To get a better idea of what goes on behind high profile cases, we talked with Knoxville Defense Attorney Greg Isaacs.

He says not everything that goes on is made public, especially in plea negotiations which are confidential.

"There may be a perception that they're not going on when they are going on," says Greg Isaacs, a Knoxville defense attorney.

Media coverage of this school shooting like others recently in Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin begin when the first shots ring out and often continue with every new development in the case.

And some attorneys argue that that could make getting a fair trial tough, especially getting a fair jury with no knowledge of the case.

"What the judge does is ask them questions collectively and individually, what have you heard about this case, what have you read," Isaacs says.

Isaacs says under Tennessee law the trial can be moved, or a jury can be brought in from another county.

"Once you've read something, once you have an opinion it's hard to change it, so publicity before a trial is something that lawyers struggle with and find very hard to deal with," Isaacs explains.

Phillips says Monday, October 16th is the deadline for filing pre-trial motions in the Bartley case.

Isaacs says a lot can change up until the trial date. "A plea agreement can happen any day, anytime, until those 12 people are in the box."

Again, the defense has until Monday to file pre-trial motions, then on November 6th, those motions will be heard as well as a trial date set.

If there's any kind of plea deal, it could happen then.

But again, according to the district attorney general he says there is no plea offer in this case, right now.