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Salyersville Independent

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County judge candidate charged in shooting

ROYALTON – A former Magoffin County Schools superintendent and current candidate for Magoffin County Judge/Executive is facing an assault charge after allegedly shooting another man in the chest early Tuesday morning.

Just after 3 a.m. on February 22, Kentucky State Police received a call that Carter Whitaker, 68, of Salyersville, had shot Christopher Barnett in the arm at Whitaker’s residence on Herald Whitaker Road, off of Puncheon in the Royalton area of Magoffin County.

When KSP Trooper Dustin Thompson arrived at the residence, Barnett was on the floor of the home with a single gunshot would to the chest, instead of the arm, and was bleeding profusely, but still conscious. Barnett reportedly told police he did not want to talk about what happened and that he was dying. He was taken to a local area hospital, but his condition is unknown at press time.

Police spoke to the two other people who were present when the shooting occurred, with one stating the four of them were sitting together when he randomly heard a gunshot and did not know why the gun was fired. The other witness said the group would often cuss and yell at each other, but there had never been any kind of altercation. She stated that earlier in the evening Whitaker reportedly had gone to get the gun from a drawer in the home, telling her he felt Barnett was going to hurt him, but she told police she had asked Whitaker to put back the gun, according to the arrest citation.

The female witness also told police the shot surprised her because she did not expect it at that time, and that she felt Whitaker had consumed too much alcohol, stating he would not normally do such a thing.

Whitaker reportedly told KSP he did not know what happened or why it happened.

Carter Whitaker was placed under arrest and taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, where he was released later that morning on a $50,000 cash bond. He is currently charged with first-degree assault.

Trooper Thompson is leading the investigation and was assisted on scene by KSP personnel.

No court date is scheduled in the felony case at press time.

Carter Whitaker is a Republican candidate for Magoffin County judge/executive, running unopposed in the primary.

He previously had held the position of Magoffin County Schools superintendent, resigning in the early 1990s amid accusations of vote buying and other misconduct.

Editor’s Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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