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Opening statements given in taser-death trial in Washington County

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 1:27 PM EDT
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SANDERSVILLE, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After jury selection earlier this week, opening statements got underway Thursday in the murder trial for three former Washington County deputies.

News 12 has a reporter in the courtroom, and we’ll be bringing you details of what happened.

Rhett Scott, Michael Howell and Henry Copeland are accused of murdering Eurie Martin.

Martin died in July 2017 after the officers tased him at least 15 times.

The trial comes almost a year after the state Supreme Court ruled the officers should be immune from prosecution.

The deputies didn’t know Martin, who was unarmed, had a long history of mental illness and treatment.

Copeland repeatedly told Martin to stop, put his hands behind his back and get on the ground, or he would tase him. Martin did not comply and Copeland shot him with his Taser. Martin fell to the ground, but stood back up and continued walking away.

Eventually, the officers deployed two different tasers against Martin, with at least 15 recorded applications during a four-minute, 17-second window.

The trial comes almost a year after the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously set aside a ruling that shielded the three former Washington County deputies from prosecution.

The state argued that Martin was no threat to the officers, who said they should be immune from prosecution because they were just doing their job.

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