SANDERSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Three Washington County deputies could be facing murder charges. Washington County’s District Attorney (D.A.) believes the three are responsible for the death of Eurie Martin.
Friday afternoon D.A., Hayward Altman announced that based on evidence, he wants former deputies, Michael Howell, Henry Copeland and Rhett Scott indicted on multiple charges. Those including felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, battery and misconduct. Altman is leaving the indictment to be ruled by the Washington County Grand Jury, December 19.
The 3 month long investigation has ended and Altman says there wasn’t any evidence showing Martin did anything wrong.
Martin was walking to his family’s home on July 7, when he was stopped by three Washington County deputies. The deputies reported to a call about a suspicious person. Martin was tased then died in the hands of the deputies.
The case was then handed off to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
“He was simply walking down the road. He broke no law,” said the Martin family’s attorney, Francys Johnson. “What happened after that, will be determined by a court of law.”
Altman stated that based on the autopsy, Martin’s died from a heart attack based on homicide.
Martin’s family and their lawyers were present at the news conference. They were pleased to see the D.A. and law enforcement seek justice.
“We’re a number of steps away, but this first step is one that we’ve seen so often be missed and not accomplished,” said Mawuli Mel Davis, the family’s other attorney. “So this first step, gives us some encouragement.”
The Martin family hasn’t filed a civil lawsuit. Johnson mentioned they do plan to, once they know who they’re going for exactly. He also stated this isn’t a matter of race, although all three deputies are white and Martin was African-American.
Washington County Sheriff Thomas Smith terminated all three deputies earlier this week. During the investigation, they were on paid leave. Altman says that is typical procedure.