Ga. Supreme Court overturns ruling that threw out indictment against 6 jailers in inmate’s death

The Georgia Supreme Court reversed a ruling that threw out indictments against six former Fulton County jail employees charged in the death of an inmate.

In 2018, Antonio May was booked into the Fulton County Jail on a misdemeanor charge.

An investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found he was dealing with mental health and substance abuse problems when he was shocked with a stun gun and pepper sprayed. May died in jail.

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A grand jury indicted deputies assigned to jail: Aaron Cook, Guito Dela Cruz, Omar Jackson, Jason Roache, Kenesia Strowder and William Whitaker. The deputies were indicted on murder charges.

In Nov. 2022, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney quashed the indictment, ruling that the State did not give the six defendants a chance to appear before a grand jury.

The Georgia Supreme Court heard an appeal from the State in June 2023. On Wednesday, the judges unanimously reversed the lower court’s decision.

“Today, the Court has reversed the trial court’s order, concluding that while the trial court generally defined “peace officer” correctly, it employed the wrong analysis in doing so. The Court further concludes that the six defendants do not meet the definition of a peace officer and, therefore, are not entitled to the pre-indictment protections afforded by Georgia Code § 17-7-52.”



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