The Richmond Register


June 30, 2014

Man arraigned in murder of Somerset attorney

SOMERSET — The man accused of shooting and killing a well-known Somerset attorney made his first court appearance Monday.

Clinton D. Inabnit, 40, was arraigned in the shooting death of prominent Somerset lawyer Mark Stanziano, 57.

Inabnit appeared before Pulaski District Judge Scott Lawless. He is being represented by attorney Richard B. Leary, of Covington.

“I must question you ... do you feel as if you can effectively discharge your duties to the client and court?” Lawless asked Leary.

Leary affirmed that he could represent Inabnit.

Stanziano’s prominence has complicated Inabnit’s case, as he’s served as a teacher and mentor to several Somerset area defense attorneys. A nationally-known trial lawyer,he was named one of the top 100 trial lawyers in Kentucky by The National Trial Lawyers (NTL).

Stanziano was best known for representing defendants in high-profile cases.

Most recently, he was representing Burnside preacher Kenneth Keith, charged with murder in the September 2013 deaths of Michael and Angela Hockensmith and Daniel Smith of Richmond at a Danville pawn shop.

He also represented Danny Shelley, who shot Pulaski Sheriff Sam Catron in 2002, and he defended Jeff Coffey in the mid-90s after Coffey killed a young couple in rural Pulaski County.

Several members of Stanziano’s family attended Monday’s hearing, during which Inabnit pleaded not guilty to one count of murder.

Inabnit was arrested early Friday morning after he allegedly shot Stanziano multiple times in front of the attorney’s downtown Somerset office.

According to eyewitness accounts, Inabnit — who lives across from Stanziano’s office at 204 W. Mt. Vernon St. — walked into the road and fired seven shots toward the attorney.

Stanziano was wounded “multiple times,” according to authorities, and was pronounced dead at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.

When asked why he shot Stanziano, Inabnit reportedly told authorities that the attorney “laughed at him,” according to the arrest citation.

But Stanziano’s widow and law partner, Bethany Stanziano, said Mark Stanziano had spoken with Inabnit several times before Friday’s incident and offered him help for what Bethany Stanziano called “emotional problems.”

Leary requested that Lawless set bail at $100,000.

“But we realize the court has to take into account the circumstances in this case,” Leary said.

Lawless declined Leary’s request and set bond at $250,000, cash or property, based on concern for the “safety of the public.”

Lawless scheduled a preliminary hearing for Wednesday, July 16, at 1:30 p.m.

The Richmond Register and the Commonwealth Journal in Somerset are both CNHI newspapers.


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