A former Laurel County constable was ordered to pay $152,409 stemming from a March 4, 2016 incident in which he shot and killed a man while in process of serving an arrest warrant.
The lawsuit was originally filed in May 2017 by Stanley's father, Bill Stanley, and named Bobby Joe Smith, a former constable, and David Westerfield, Laurel County Judge Executive, as defendants in the case. Westerfield was named due to Smith being an elected official for the county, although he was later dismissed from the case, according to the Stanley family attorney, Liddell Vaughn.
But the jury's decision does not exclude the county from having to pay the amounts awarded to the Stanley family, Vaughn added.
"Our next recourse will be to try and collect from the county, since he (Smith) was an elected official," Vaughn said.
That amount was specified as $100,000 for physical harm, $100,000 for emotional and mental harm and $100,000 for destruction of the power to earn. An additional $4,819 for burial expenses was also listed, which is the maximum amount that could be awarded.
However, a further instruction for jurors in the case was to decide how much fault each person held in the incident, with jurors deciding that Smith and Stanley were both 50% at fault in the incident.
"In Kentucky, which is a pure comparative fault state, it can be determined that different people can be responsible for an incident," Vaughn explained. "In this case, they decided that both were equally at fault (50%), so that will make the award be divided in half."
Another change in the case came when Bill Stanley stepped down as the plaintiff in the lawsuit, with Stanley's finance, Tracy Whittemore, then filing as the plaintiff. Vaughn added that Bill Stanley stepped down as the primary plaintiff because he thought sitting in on the jury trial would be too difficult for him emotionally.
Brandon Stanley was inside the A&B Quick Stop at the intersections of KY 3430 and KY 3434 in East Bernstadt when Smith attempted to serve a warrant for his arrest. The lawsuit states that Smith entered the store with his gun drawn and attempted to place Stanley under arrest. It also adds that Smith, "without legal cause or provocation, fired two shots from his firearm which struck Stanley in the chest and in the back and was fatally wounded."
Smith was indicted by a Laurel Circuit jury for second-degree manslaughter. But after the trial, jurors had the option of finding Smith guilty of the manslaughter charge or reckless homicide or not guilty. The verdict was returned with Smith found guilty of reckless homicide and serving a year in jail — the minimum sentence for that offense.
During the criminal trial, Commonwealth's Attorney Jackie Steele told jurors that Smith had pulled Stanley's vehicle over three days prior and that Stanley gave him a false name. While Smith was checking records of the name Stanley gave him, Stanley ran from the scene and escaped. Smith then found Stanley's wallet and another check revealed that Stanley had an outstanding warrant from Clay Circuit Court for persistent felony offender and trafficking in methamphetamine. That is the outstanding warrant Smith was attempting to serve when Stanley reportedly told Smith that he would not take him to jail and did not comply with Smith's commands to lift his hands to be placed under arrest. It was also discovered that Stanley had both methamphetamine and marijuana in his blood at the time of the shooting incident.