Marshall Co. Families Demand Apology From Beshear
By West Kentucky Star Staff
BENTON - After a letter from Marshall County Judge-Executive Kevin Neal to Andy Beshear did not get a direct response, family members of several victims in the Marshall County High School shooting are asking the Attorney General and Gubernatorial candidate for an apology.  

In a video and letter on Thursday, Neal asked for clarification, saying Beshear's statement in Tuesday's Gubernatorial debate that he met with victim's families was refuted by at least 12 of the 16 families, including the families of Preston Cope and Bailey Holt, who were killed in the shooting.

Former Marshall County Attorney Jeffrey Edwards defended Beshear in a letter to Neal, saying he personally escorted the Attorney General to the grand jury room in the Marshall County Courthouse on January 25, where Beshear spoke with "a roomful of impacted families." On Facebook, Assistant County Attorney Jacob Ford also remembered Beshear's visit.

In spite of that, Neal, with Brian and Teresa Cope, Secret and Jason Holt and other parents of victims, posted another video on Facebook Saturday demanding an apology from Beshear. 

Neal said as of Saturday morning, his office has still not received a response from Beshear, and said, "the comments that were stated were not accurate and these families want to set the record straight." 

Brian Cope read a statement on behalf of the families, saying they were sad and angry about the comment, and said they haven't met a person who doesn't think Beshear was implying that he spoke to all of them. 

While acknowledging that Beshear was in Benton on January 25, 2018, the group demanded an apology.

Cope said, "We want him to apologize to those of us that never saw him or any of his staff after the shooting, and it's been a year and ten months, and we still haven't." 

He stressed that the demand isn't politically motivated. 

Cope said, "There's Democrats in this room, Republicans and Independents. Politics is not a concern of this. Some will try to say his words meant something else, but let's be honest - Mr. Beshear is an Attorney General - if there is one thing an attorney knows well, it's the use of words, phrases and sentences. He intentionally made his comment sound as if he spoke will all of the families affected by the shooting. He didn't."

Cope said if Beshear spoke to any of the families, it is not one of the 13-14 that have been in contact with Neal in the past few days. 

"Mr. Beshear has left no doubt that he was using this tragedy - that we live every single minute and every single day for the rest of our lives - for his personal political gain," Cope said. "Please step up and do the right thing, Mr. Beshear, and please offer an apology."

Neal ended the video by saying, "We want to be sure that this message does not get convoluted with the political side of it. This is a clear message that the people need to understand - some of these parents have never met Andy Beshear - and they do deserve a response."

When asked if the Attorney General had a response, Beshear/Coleman Spokesperson Sam Newton issued a statement, saying, "Attorney General Beshear traveled to the Marshall County Courthouse on January 25, 2018. During that time, he pledged his full support to the local prosecutors and county attorney, and met a roomful of impacted families that were in the courthouse for the hearing that day. Andy did not do any media interviews. His office dedicated resources, two victims’ advocates and assistance from prosecutors in the attorney general’s office in the hope of providing any possible healing and justice. Andy grieves for the families and the entire Marshall County community.”

Here is the complete video:

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Published 10:55 PM, Saturday Oct. 19, 2019
Updated 09:02 PM, Thursday Oct. 24, 2019

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