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Judge denies immunity motion in police shooting case

The criminal trial of a former police officer charged in a fatal on-duty shooting will move forward next week after a judge denied his motion seeking immunity from prosecution. Jury selection starts Monday.

“Having considered the entirety of the evidence presented at hearing, the court finds that Presley has not met his burden of proof for pretrial immunity to attach,” Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett wrote in his order filed Thursday afternoon.

Former Kingsland police officer Zechariah Presley will now stand trial next week for voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and violating his oath of office in the 2018 death of Tony Green. Jury selection starts Monday.

On June 20, 2018, Presley followed Green’s car, apparently intending to make a traffic stop. Green’s car ran off the road and two people ran away. Presley followed Green and there was a brief physical altercation before Presley shot Green.

The defense filed a motion in August seeking immunity from further prosecution and Scarlett heard evidence and arguments from both sides on Tuesday. State law allows for immunity from criminal prosecution in specific circumstances where a defendant felt threatened or used deadly force to defend himself.

In his order, Scarlett lays out that a defendant must show that he reasonably believed that force was necessary to prevent death or injury to himself and Presley didn’t meet that standard.

“While the evidence is uncontroverted that Green fled from Presley and the two ended up in some sort of physical altercation prior to shots being fired, and while it is clear from the body camera video that Presley was distraught and fearful during and after the incident; it is rebutted at this stage of the proceeding that Green was ‘taking off’ at the time Presley fired his weapon, and there was evidence that Green was found to have entrance wounds and exit wounds to both his front and his back, although the sequence of the shots is unknown. Moreover, Green had no weapon on him,” Scarlett wrote.

Tribune & Georgian

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