Steve Nunn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Stephen Rob "Steve" Nunn
Kentucky State Representative for Barren County
In office
January 1, 1980 – December 31, 2006
Succeeded by Johnny Bell
Personal details
Born (1952-11-04) November 4, 1952 (age 65)
Glasgow, Barren County
Kentucky, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Tracey L. Damron (divorced)[1]
Children 2
Parents Louie B. Nunn
Beula Cornelius Aspley 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.[2]

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, then of Eastwood in suburban Jefferson County, ran as the lieutenant governor selection on Nunn's ticket.[3] 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, the grandson of Happy 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,[4] 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).[5]

In September 2007, Nunn announced his support of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Steve Beshear, a former lieutenant governor who handily unseated Fletcher in the Republican's 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, 56, resigned his state position as deputy director for the Health and Family Services Cabinet after having been placed on administrative leave in February as a result of a February 19 assault in Lexington on 29-year-old Amanda Ross, his former fiancée, who had procured a protective order against him for domestic violence.[6]

On September 11, 2009, Ross was found shot to death outside of the Opera House Square complex in Lexington.[7] That same day, Nunn was found by police with his wrists slit in Hart County near the grave sites of his parents.[8] He was arrested and taken to a hospital in Bowling Green[2] where he was stated to be in fair condition from the wounds, which were first considered to be self-inflicted.[8][9] 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.[10]

On September 14, Nunn was taken to the Hart County jail after having been discharged from the hospital.[11] The same day, Nunn was charged by Lexington police with Ross's murder.[12] On September 17, Nunn was transferred to the Fayette County Detention Center.[13] The next day, he pleaded not guilty to the murder charges in Fayette District Court.[14] On November 10, 2009, Nunn was indicted on charges of murder and violating a protective order.[15] Prosecutors intended to seek the death penalty,[16] but on June 28, 2011, Nunn pleaded 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.[17] He is currently serving his sentence at the Kentucky State Reformatory in LaGrange, Kentucky, under Department of Corrections (DOC) ID #246151.[18]

As of November 4, 2014, Nunn was 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.[19]

Meanwhile, the Ross family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Nunn.[20] In August 2013, a Fayette Circuit Judge ordered Steve Nunn, 60, to pay Amanda Ross's family more than $24 million for killing her outside her Lexington home in 2009.[21]

The judge ruled Nunn to pay $20 million for punitive damages. The judge also commanded Nunn to pay $23,000 for medical costs, $27,000 for funeral costs, $3 million for Amanda's future earning potential, along with pain and suffering to Ms. Ross and to the estate at one million dollars.[21]

Amanda's Law[edit]

In the months after her daughter's murder, Diana Ross began advocating for the protection of other victims of domestic violence. She wanted to bring more light to domestic-violence, under the title of Amanda's Law. The law was passed in 2010 by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.[22] It increases the use of GPS tracking units to enhance the protection of victims from domestic violence and their past attackers.[22] Diana pointed out the law that passed was not as strong as she advocated for.[7]

Judges can invoke the law on a case-by-case basis after a protective order has been violated.[7]

According to the federal Electronic Monitoring Resource Center at Denver University, there are currently 12 states with laws allowing judges to order the wearing of GPS tracking units. The units send an alarm to both the victim and police if the perpetrator enters areas restricted by the protection order.[7][23]


The investigative television show 20/20 on OWN's episode "Sins of the Son" (Season 3, Episode 52) examines the Steve Nunn case, using the 20/20 story that originally aired September 19, 2013.[24][25]


  1. ^ Urbina, Ian (November 12, 2009). "A Murder Raises Hard Questions in Kentucky". The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Former Governor's Son In Custody After Fatal Shooting". WLEX-TV via September 11, 2009. Archived from the original on September 14, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Heleringer to run for Senate, June 13, 2007". The Courier-Journal. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Former Kentucky Lawmaker No Longer Facing Charges". Associated Press via WPSD-TV. Archived from the original on September 16, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Election results, November 7, 2006". Retrieved October 14, 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ Lacrapia, Kim (September 11, 2009). "KY Rep. Steve Nunn arrested after girlfriend Amanda Ross found dead". ABC. The Inquisitr News. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Sechrist, Adam (March 13, 2012). "Victim's Mom Fights for Stalker Law". ABC News. ABC News. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Martinez, Edecio (September 15, 2009). "Former Rep. Steven Nunn Charged With Killing Ex-Girlfriend Amanda Ross". CBS News. Frankfort, Kentucky: CBS News Interactive. (AP). Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Ex-fiancee of lawmaker shot and killed in Lexington; Politician wanted for questioning". WKYT-TV. September 11, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  10. ^ Clark, Ashlee; Estep, Bill; Wilson, Amy (September 11, 2009). "Kentucky GOP ex-lawmaker arrested; ex-fiance is dead". McClatchy Newspapers / Lexington Herald-Leader. Archived from the original on September 15, 2009. 
  11. ^ Ronnie, Ellis; Simpson Strange, Lisa (September 17, 2009). "Nunn moved to Lexington jail". The Independent Online. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  12. ^ Ward, Karla; Alessi, Ryan; Estep, Bill (September 14, 2009). "Prominent Kentucky GOP pol charged with murder in ex-fiancee's death". Lexington Herald-Leader. Munfordville, Kentucky: McClatchyDC. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  13. ^ Clark, Ashlee (September 18, 2009). "Nunn pleads not guilty in murder case". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved September 18, 2009. 
  14. ^ Ellis, Ronnie (November 19, 2009). "Nunn pleads not guilty to murder charges". Glasgow Daily Times. CNHI News Service. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  15. ^ Spears, Valarie Honeycutt; Clark, Ashlee (November 10, 2009). "Nunn indicted on murder charge". Lexington Herald-Leader. Archived from the original on November 12, 2009. Retrieved November 10, 2009. 
  16. ^ Gazaway, Charles (May 26, 2010). "Prosecutors to seek death penalty against Steve Nunn". WAVE News. Louisville, Kentucky: Frankly Media and WAVE. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Steve Nunn pleads guilty to murder, gets life sentence". The Courier-Journal. June 27, 2011. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  18. ^ Kentucky Online Offender Search (KOOL) - Kentucky Department of Corrections
  19. ^ Barrouquere, Brett (November 15, 2012). "Kentucky's Nunn Found Liable for Wrongful Death in Insurance Examiner Killing". Insurance Journal. Wells Media Group, Inc. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  20. ^ Brammer, Jack (June 30, 2011). "Steve Nunn will receive state pension despite murder conviction". Frankfort, Kentucky: Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b "Ex-lawmaker Steve Nunn must pay Ross family more than $20M". Lexington, Kentucky: WKYT. August 19, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  22. ^ a b MacDonald, Janelle. "Amanda's Law with GPS tracking goes into effect". Wave News. Louisville, Kentucky: Raycom Media. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  23. ^ Green, Ariana (May 8, 2009). "More States Embrace GPS Monitoring in Abuse Cases". The New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  24. ^ "20/20 on OWN". Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  25. ^ "Sins of the Son - 20/20 on OWN". Retrieved 25 March 2017. [permanent dead link]