In a ruling issued today, the court said Judge Calvin Holden did not err when he allowed videotaped testimony to be used against Lucas Campbell.
The following description of the case was included in the court opinion:
Defendant, Nick Gamblin, and their girlfriends lived together. Gamblin, who was on probation, was selling drugs as a middleman for Defendant. People regularly came to their house to use drugs, usually marijuana. Bobby Wilson (“Victim”) came one day with a lot of marijuana. After smoking awhile, Gamblin, Defendant and his girlfriend, and Victim borrowed a car to drive around and smoke some more.
Victim wanted to sell some of his marijuana. Defendant directed Gamblin, who was driving, to Sarena Hart’s rural home. Defendant took Victim’s marijuana, and along with Gamblin, went inside. Victim and Defendant’s girlfriend stayed in the car.
Instead of mentioning the marijuana to Hart, his former girlfriend, Defendant asked if she would stay his friend if he had done something really bad. Hart jokingly asked Defendant who he had killed. Defendant replied no one “yet.” Defendant asked Hart to leave for a little while. When she refused, he asked if he could hide a body on her property. He told Hart not to go outside when they left. She did so anyway, waved at the other two in the car, and Victim smiled and waved back.
The group left, drove around, and smoked more. Gamblin was driving down a farm road when Defendant said to pull over so he could urinate. All three men got out. Gamblin finished first and returned to the driver’s seat. He heard a gunshot and saw Victim lying near the ditch. Defendant returned to the car, holding a .40 caliber gun Gamblin had seen him carry before. Defendant said he was sorry to do that in front of them, but he thought Victim was a “snitch.” Defendant took over the driver’s seat, warning Gamblin to keep his mouth shut or he would be killed. Defendant drove to an acquaintance’s trailer, left the gun there, and drove home after stopping for something to eat.
Gamblin was scared and shaking when they returned. He called Richard Stacey, a friend who sold drugs and had known Defendant for years. Without going into details, Gamblin told Stacey that Defendant had done something bad and Stacey needed to talk to him. Stacey found Defendant, who (in two conversations with Stacey) said he “popped” Victim in the back of the head, “blew half his face off[,]” and dropped the gun off afterwards because he thought Victim was a police informant.
Ironically, Stacey was a police informant. He relayed Defendant’s statements to law enforcement, which linked that information to Victim’s death and the crime scene. Police eventually found the car, which Gamblin had hidden, and arrested Gamblin on a probation violation warrant. They recovered Defendant’s gun, still holding eight live .40 caliber hollow-point rounds. They forensically established that the same gun fired a spent casing found at the crime scene. Police searched Defendant’s bedroom after his arrest and found a holster fitting a .40 caliber handgun, and a cash box holding ammunition, including one .40 caliber cartridge matching the live rounds still in the murder weapon. There was trial testimony that Defendant always carried a .38 or .40 caliber handgun. The autopsy showed Victim was shot in the back of the head with a bullet of similar caliber that cut his brain stem in half.
Defendant did not testify at trial. The jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life without parole.
(KY3 photo of Lucas Campbell)