Revenge for Real: How Did a Promising Legislator Become a Killer?

PHOTO: Friends said Steve Nunn and Amanda Ross had a volatile romance.

He was a governor's son, a legislator, a crusader, a womanizer, a boozehound, a stalker and, finally, a murderer.

In 2009, Steve Nunn, a former Kentucky state representative and the son of former Kentucky Governor Louie Nunn, killed his ex-fiancee, Amanda Ross. In the ultimate ironic twist, prosecutors threatened Nunn with the death penalty on the strength of a domestic violence bill Nunn himself spearheaded during his time in elected office.

Nunn "had it all," said Nunn's attorney, Warren Scoville, "(and) he lost it all."

Nunn was barely 15 when his father won the race for governor of Kentucky.

The year was 1967 and photos show Nunn excitedly celebrating his father's victory with his sister and mother.

He was "someone who wanted to please his father, who wanted to follow in his father's footsteps," said Al Cross, who covered politics for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.

Cross said Gov. Nunn, in turn, expected much from his son -- too much. Others agree.

"If you were going design your father, you would not design Louie Nunn," said Larry Forgy, who was Gov. Nunn's budget director. Forgy said he hated how the governor treated his son.

"Louie Nunn was a man of ridicule. And I think Steve Nunn, unfortunately, grew up in ridicule," he said.

PHOTOS: Steve Nunn and Amanda Ross

As his father's career soared, Steve Nunn moved easily through the genteel circles of Kentucky society. Like is father, he attended law school. Unlike his father, he dropped out. He married and had three children. In 1990, he was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Nunn was a Republican like his father but, despite the elder Nunn's looming shadow, Steve Nunn developed his own identity as a relative liberal and a crusader for women, children and the disadvantaged.

His father Louie Nunn was not impressed.

"You could tell that Steve never quite measured up in Louie's eyes. And he knew it," Cross said.

Whatever their political differences, the father and son had at least one thing in common: both had a wandering eye. Louie Nunn was widely believed to be unfaithful to his wife, while Steve Nunn's appetite for women seemed to surpass his father's.

"People just said, 'Well, yeah, that's Steve being Steve.' Or, in some ways they may have said, 'That's Steve being Louie,'" Cross said.

Meanwhile, behind the gates of the Nunn family estate, things were getting ugly. In 1994, Louie Nunn's wife Beula filed for divorce, and wound up getting a restraining order against the former governor. Things deteriorated further after an incident that allegedly turned violent.

"Steve had spun to the protection of his mother when he thought she was going to be physically abused by his father during a family argument. And apparently he attacked the governor," said long-time news anchor and talk show host Sue Wylie.

The elderly Nunn fired back: In a handwritten letter, the former governor accused Steve Nunn of physically abusing him.

The father and son stopped speaking; when Steve Nunn -- who was divorced his first wife in 1992 -- married for a second time in 1996, Gov. Nunn was nowhere to be seen.

His new wife, Tracey Damron, was the bubbly, beautiful daughter of a Kentucky coal magnate. A former flight attendant, Damron easily adapted to the life of a political wife, attending Derby Day parties, fundraisers and society balls.

Damron said the man she married loved "to sing and dance and love and have fun and joy life. And he would always tell me... 'Enjoy this moment...Life is so fleeting."

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