SYLVANIA, Ga. (AP) — Dash camera video contradicts a former Georgia state trooper’s statement that he fatally shot a motorist fearing the man was trying to run him over, an investigator testified in court.
Jacob Thompson is charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in the Aug. 7 death of Julian Lewis. Thompson was on duty with the Georgia State Patrol when he tried to pull Lewis over for a broken tail light in rural Screven County. When Lewis refused to stop, the trooper chased him and forced his car into a ditch, then shot Lewis in the head.
Thompson later wrote in his incident report that he shot Lewis as he was revving his engine and turning his steering wheel, as if he was trying trying to ram the trooper. But Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Dustin Peak testified at a preliminary court hearing Monday the evidence contradicts Thompson’s account.
Peak told a judge the battery to Lewis’ car became disconnected when it hit the ditch, rendering the vehicle inoperable. He said dash camera video from Thompson’s patrol cruiser shows he shot Lewis immediately after exiting the car.
“We determined that approximately one second after Trooper Thompson took his foot off the brake of his patrol vehicle, there was one shot that was fired,” Peak said.
The judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for a grand jury to decide whether to indict Thompson, who remains jailed without bond.
Thompson’s defense attorneys Monday called to the witness stand GBI forensics experts who testified that Lewis had cocaine, methamphetamine and Prozac in his system when he was killed, WTOC-TV reported.