• 1 of 2 former officers found guilty in Taser death

    By: Tom Regan , Nefertiti Jaquez

    Updated:

    EAST POINT, Ga. - A jury reached a verdict Friday afternoon in the trial of two former East Point police officers accused of murder.

    The jury found one of the two former officers guilty on all counts.

     

     

    Marcus Eberhart, the commanding officer, was found guilty of all counts, including felony murder. Howard Weems was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct and several other lesser charges. He was found not guilty of felony murder and aggravated assault.  

    The two former East Point police officers are accused of killing a handcuffed man, Gregory Towns, with their Tasers in 2014.

    "I was happy and I was grateful. I'm glad my brother has justice," the victim's sister, Charity Barnes, said.

    Channel 2’s Tom Regan was in court for closing arguments Wednesday, where the jury is having to weigh serious evidence in the case.

    The prosecution argued the two officers used excessive force with their Tasers on Towns, and the repeated shocks contributed to his death.

    "I believe (Eberhart) was fully responsible for everything," another sister, Tiarra Towns, said.

    A prosecutor demonstrated to the jury how Towns was repeatedly shocked in driver stun mode to force him to get up off the ground to walk to a car.

    He argued those repeated jolts caused Towns to stop breathing and later die.

    “Gregory Towns was a father. He was a young man, he was 24 years old. He did not deserve to die like this,” said Assistant District Attorney Brett Pinion.

    "Common sense says all these officers had to do was to simply wait for medical treatment to arrive, and they didn't do that. They decided to Tase him, and Tase him 13 times," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said.


    RELATED STORIES:


    The defense said Towns’ death was the result of severe health problems and not caused by the Tasers.

    “There is no known death from an X-35 Taser in drive stun mode and there's no reason to believe this is the first case ever,” said defense attorney Sandra Michaels. "They never intended that to happen and they were never aware of his medical situation."

    The former officers chose not to take the witness stand.

    They will be sentenced next week. Eberhart is facing life in prison. Weems is facing up to 10 years.

    Next Up: