Judge Denies Separate Trials for Former Memphis Officers in Fatal Beating Case

A judge has denied the requests made by three former Memphis police officers to have separate trials in the case of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, and Justin Smith had filed motions to sever their cases from Demetrius Haley and Emmitt Martin, arguing that a joint trial would not allow for a fair determination of their guilt or innocence. However, Shelby County Judge James Jones Jr. issued an order denying these requests, stating that severing the cases is not necessary to protect their rights to a fair trial.

All five former members of the Memphis police department’s crime-suppression unit have pleaded not guilty to state charges, including second-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping, in relation to the beating of Nichols. The incident, which occurred on January 7, was captured on police video. Nichols, 29, died in the hospital three days after the beating, with an autopsy report confirming that the cause of death was homicide due to blows to the head.

The five officers, who are all Black, were fired shortly after the incident. They were also indicted on federal civil rights charges on September 13, which allege excessive force and lying about the beating. The officers have pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

During a hearing on September 15, lawyers for Bean, Mills, and Smith argued that their clients were not present at the initial traffic stop where Nichols was pulled over. They claimed that Bean and Smith were merely responding to a call about a suspect who had fled from police after being hit with a stun gun and pepper spray. Prosecutors, however, argued that the officers are responsible for their actions at the second location, where Nichols was beaten and left injured.

The judge’s decision to deny separate trials means that all five former officers will face a joint trial.

Author: CrimeDoor

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