Burnam said he sent the email, dated Nov. 28, after receiving a call from White.
Burnam resigned from state police in early 2010 to run for sheriff. At the time, state police were transferring him to nearby Livingston County, which would have uprooted him from his home in Trigg County. Burnam said the transfer played a role in his run for sheriff.
He handled road patrols and had an investigative role during his tenure with KSP, which started in 1998 but included absences when he was called up for active duty with the Air Force. But he was not given an investigative role in the Humphries case. That didn’t keep him from asking people if they knew anything about the slaying.
‘‘People talked to me and I listened,’’ he said, adding that he passed whatever information he got to his superiors.
Russell was first indicted on a murder charge in 2003 in the Humphries case, but prosecutors dismissed the case citing a lack of evidence. Ovey recalled that Burnam criticized him ‘‘almost relentlessly’’ at the time for the dismissal.
Russell was indicted again in 2011. Ovey said he was subjected to more criticism from Burnam, this time because he would be prosecuting the case.
Relatives of the victims are simply focused on the pursuit of the killers.
‘‘I'd rather have closure than anything else in the world, to have peace of mind,’’ said Michael Ladd, whose brother, Kenneth, was gunned down while working an overnight desk shift at Lake Barkley State Resort Park.
For Ladd’s family, the reward offer is more than a gesture — it’s a sign that someone with a badge hasn’t given up.
‘‘You can’t change nothing, but justice ought to be done,’’ said Philip Ladd, another of Kenneth’s brothers.
Ladd was three days away from turning 23 when he was shot twice in the head and once in the heart with a rifle. Investigators pointed to theft as the motive and said $1,775 had been taken. He was home from college, holding down a job to scrape together enough money to return to Western Kentucky University, where he was pursuing a business degree.
State police arrested Michael Lee Cunningham, charging him with capital murder and armed robbery. But early in 1981, a local jury acquitted Cunningham of all charges.
In the other unsolved case, the 64-year-old Choat was gunned down in the home he built himself and settled into retirement. No one has been charged in the slaying.
Carrie Baker, Humphries’ sister, said she’s more concerned about the outcome of her sister’s case than the conflicts involving the sheriff, prosecutor and state police.
‘‘I just wish everybody could be in accord,’’ she said. ‘‘We just want closure just to put her at peace. Every year it’s tougher and tougher.’’