Criminal Justice

Suspect in lawyer's slaying said messages in newspaper, music told him to do it, cop says

The suspect in the June 27 slaying of Kentucky lawyer Mark Stanziano told police he was acting on messages in the local newspaper and music, a detective testified at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Somerset Police Detective Chris Gates testified that suspect Clinton Inabnit said “these people” would stop the ringing in his ears if he killed the criminal-defense lawyer, report the Associated Press, the Commonwealth Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader.

During police questioning, Inabnit said he had warned Stanziano that people wanted the lawyer killed, and that they had asked Inabnit to handle the job, Gates testified. Inabnit said Stanziano laughed about the warning, according to Gates.

Also testifying at the hearing was Pulaski County Sheriff’s Detective John Hutchinson, who said he saw Inabnit shoot Stanziano as the lawyer arrived at his law office in Somerset. Hutchinson said he was crossing the street to a convenience store when he heard the first shot. Hutchinson said he then saw Inabnit firing at Stanziano. Hutchinson took cover behind a gas pump, told gas customers to get inside, and ordered Inabnit to drop his weapon. Inabnit complied on the second command and Hutchinson handcuffed him, the officer said.

Pulaski District Judge Jeffrey Scott Lawless found probable cause to send a murder charge against Inabnit to the grand jury.

Inabnit’s lawyer, Richard Leary, told reporters after the hearing that Inabnit’s comments suggest he “might have been not in his complete right mind when this happened, and we’re going to get into that.”

Stanziano’s widow, Bethany Stanziano, said Inabnit had seemed disturbed. Her husband had treated Inabnit to lunch just days before the slaying and had offered to pay for him to get treatment, she said.

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