Steve Nunn

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Stephen Rob "Steve" Nunn
Kentucky State Representative from Barren County
In office
January 1, 1980 – December 31, 2006
Succeeded by Johnny Bell
Personal details
Born (1952-11-04) November 4, 1952 (age 62)
Glasgow, Barren County
Kentucky, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Tracey Damron, Divorced
Children Mary Elizabeth Nunn

Katharine Courtney Nunn

Residence Life imprisonment
Occupation Politician

Stephen Rob Nunn, known as Steve Nunn (born November 4, 1952, in Glasgow, Kentucky) is the former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a convicted murderer. From 1980 to 2006, he was a Republican member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from his native Barren County in southern Kentucky. In 2011, Nunn received a life sentence without parole after pleading guilty to the murder of his ex-fiancée. He is the son of the late Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn and First Lady Beula Cornelius Aspley Nunn.[1]

Political career[edit]

Nunn unsuccessfully sought the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2003, finishing third to then-United States Representative Ernie Fletcher of Lexington, whom Nunn then supported. Former State Representative Bob Heleringer of Eastwood in Jefferson County, ran as the lieutenant governor selection on Nunn's ticket.[2] In the primary, Nunn received 21,167 votes (13.4 percent), but Fletcher led the three-candidate field with 90,912 (57.3 percent). Rebecca Jackson polled 44,084 (27.8 percent). Fletcher went on to win the position in the general election by defeating Democrat Attorney General Ben Chandler. Fletcher was the first Republican to be elected governor of Kentucky since Louie B. Nunn upset Henry Ward in November 1967.

On November 7, 2006, after fifteen years as a state representative,[3] Nunn lost his bid for re-election to the Democrat Johnny Bell. Nunn polled 5,572 votes (46.7 percent) to Bell's 6,371 ballots (53.3 percent).[4]

In September 2007, Nunn announced his support of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Steve Beshear, a former lieutenant governor who handily unseated Fletcher in his bid for re-election. On December 22, 2007, Beshear appointed Nunn as deputy secretary of Health and Family Services.

Murder of ex-fiancée[edit]

In March 2009, Steve Nunn resigned his state position after having been placed on administrative leave in February as a result of a February 19 assault in Lexington on Amanda Ross, his former fiancée, who had procured a protective order against him for domestic violence.[5]

On September 11, 2009, Ross was found shot to death in the parking lot of the Opera House Square complex in Lexington.[6] That same day, Nunn was found by police with his wrists slit in Hart County near the gravesites of his parents.[7] He was arrested and taken to a hospital in Bowling Green[1] fair condition from the wounds, which were first considered to be self-inflicted.[7][8] Nunn was charged with six counts of wanton endangerment of a police officer because when authorities arrived to arrest him, they reported that Nunn had fired a .38-caliber handgun.[9] On September 14, Nunn was taken to the Hart County jail after having been discharged from the hospital.[10] The same day, Nunn was charged by Lexington police with Ross's murder.[11] On September 17, Nunn was transferred to the Fayette County Detention Center.[12] The next day, he pled not guilty to the murder charges in Fayette District Court.[12] On November 10, 2009, Nunn was indicted on charges of murder and violating a protective order.[13] Prosecutors intended to seek the death penalty,[14] but on June 28, 2011, Nunn pled guilty in Fayette Circuit Court in Lexington to Ross's murder and received a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the crime.[15] He is currently serving his sentence at the Little Sandy Correctional Complex in Sandy Hook, Kentucky. [16]

When he turns sixty-two on November 4, 2014, Nunn is eligible to receive his full state pension of $28,210 annually, based on his legislative and executive department service. State law permits pension benefits to former lawmakers unless they commit a crime while in office as a legislator. Meanwhile, the Ross family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Nunn.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Former Governor's Son In Custody After Fatal Shooting". WLEX-TV via 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2009-09-11. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Heleringer to run for Senate, June 13, 2007". Louisville Courier-Journal. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Former Kentucky Lawmaker No Longer Facing Charges". Associated Press via WPSD-TV. Retrieved 2009-09-11. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Election results, November 7, 2006". Retrieved October 14, 2009. 
  5. ^ "KY Rep. Steve Nunn arrested after ex-girlfriend Ross found dead". Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  6. ^ Clark, Ashlee (2009-09-11). "Woman dies after shooting in downtown Lexington". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  7. ^ a b "Nunn found wounded in Hart County, ex-fiance dead in Lexington". Lexington Herald-Leader. 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  8. ^ "UPDATE: Woman shot and killed in Lexington; Politician possible suspect". WKYT-TV. 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  9. ^ Clark, Ashlee; Estep, Bill; Wilson, Amy (2009-09-11). "Kentucky GOP ex-lawmaker arrested; ex-fiance is dead". McClatchy Newspapers / Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  10. ^ Loftus, Tom (2009-09-14). "Nunn taken to Hart County jail after release from medical center". Louisville Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2009-09-14. [dead link]
  11. ^ Alessi, Ryan; Estep, Bill (2009-09-14). "Lexington police charge Nunn in ex-fiancee's slaying". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  12. ^ a b Clark, Ashlee (2009-09-18). "Nunn pleads not guilty in murder case". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  13. ^ Spears, Valarie Honeycutt; Clark, Ashlee (2009-11-10). "Nunn indicted on murder charge". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  14. ^ Prosecutors to seek death penalty against Steve Nunn Charles Gazaway, WAVE News. April 6, 2010
  15. ^
  16. ^ Kentucky Online Offender Search (KOOL) - Kentucky Department of Corrections
  17. ^ "Steve Nunn will receive state pension despite murder conviction, June 30, 2011". Retrieved March 14, 2012.