June 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Police: Defense attorney fatally shot in Kentucky

Somerset Police respond to the scene of a shooting on West Mt. Vernon Street in Somerset, June 26, 2014. Somerset police say Mark Stanziano, 57, a defense attorney well-known in his small, southern Kentucky town, was shot and killed outside of his law office. (Chris Harris / AP)

Somerset, Ky. — A defense attorney well known in his small, southern Kentucky town was shot and killed outside of his law office early Friday, police said.

Witnesses told police that Mark Stanziano, 57, was shot multiple times about 8 a.m. outside his downtown office, officials said.

A Pulaski County sheriff’s detective who witnessed the shooting arrested a suspect — Clinton D. Inabnitt, 40, of Somerset. Witnesses told police Inabnitt had contacted Stanziano on Thursday night and had previously threatened the attorney, police said in a statement.

Stanziano has been involved in multiple high-profile murder cases. At the time of the shooting he was representing Kenneth Allen Keith, a local pastor charged with the murder of three people in Danville last year.

Somerset is in Pulaski County, where in 2002 former Pulaski County Sheriff Samuel Catron was shot and killed at a political rally. Stanziano represented the man charged with the murder.

Jeff Hoover, a defense attorney in nearby Jamestown and the Kentucky House minority floor leader, said he that when he heard of the shooting, he had “a sick feeling in my stomach.”

“It just was numb and it makes you just stop and think about people that you represent and situations that you find yourself in sometimes,” he told The Associated Press. “Mark did a lot of very high-profile, high-publicity criminal defense cases. Anytime you do criminal defense cases sometimes you are concerned about things like that.”

Stanziano had 30 years’ experience in criminal cases, was a published author and had spoken at the national level, according to a biography on his law practice’s website.