Judge Throws Out Indictments of 3 Washington County Deputies Involved in a Suspect’s Fatal Tasing

Former deputies Henry Lee Copeland, Michael Howell and Rhett Scott

A judge has thrown out the murder indictments of three Washington County deputies involved in a suspect’s fatal Tasing.

In December, a grand jury indicted Deputies Henry Copeland, Michael Howell, and Rhett Scott on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.

The three are accused of Tasing Eurie Martin to death last summer on Deepstep Road.

Defense lawyers asked a judge to throw out the indictments because District Attorney Heyward Altman did not have a court reporter record the grand jury proceedings.

Altman said he had court reporter, but dismissed it. He says normally court reporters are not required to be in grand jury proceedings, but a new statute says differently when it involves a law enforcement officer.

“We both had a different interpretation on whether or not a court reporter is required to be in the grand jury room taking down the information,” Altman said. “I interpreted it one way, the defense attorneys interpreted the other way, the judge understood that he had to make a decision, based on the defense attorney’s interpretation. It just basically means we start from scratch again.”

Judge H. Gibbs Flanders issued the order Tuesday, but it does allow prosecutors to take up the case again to a different grand jury.

Altman says he plans to take the case to a new grand jury in March or June.

Source: http://www.13wmaz.com/news/local/judge-throws-out-indictments-of-3-washington-co-deputies/518887616