South Fulton County

Former officer sentenced to life in prison for man's Taser murder

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A judge sentenced a former East Point police officer to life in prison for the Taser murder of a handcuffed man.

Marcus Eberhart, the commanding officer, was found guilty on Friday of all counts, including felony murder.

A judge sentenced Eberhart to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years for the felony murder and aggravated assault charges. He has a concurrent sentence of 5 years for the violation of oath of office.

Howard Weems, a second officer charged in the case, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct and several other lesser charges. He was found not guilty of felony murder and aggravated assault.

Weems was sentenced to 5 years in prison, with 18 months to serve on the involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct charges. He is sentenced under first-offender status, so pending the completion of his sentence which includes probation, the felony status could be dropped.

Howard Weems and Marcus Eberhart

During his probation, he will have to speak to law enforcement recruits about the dangers of extensive force.

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

Eberhart ordered the suspect to be shocked with a Taser because he was not following commands to get off the ground and walk to a patrol car.

Prior to his sentencing, Weems spoke to the court and the victim's family. He said he had no knowledge of the suspect's serious medical issues that day.

"I'm sorry that this incident happened. I'm sorry for the Towns family. I'm sorry there is nothing I'll ever be able to say that will allow them to have forgiveness for me or that would change their mind and their belief," he said.

Towns' girlfriend told Channel 2 Action News she's not satisfied with the sentences.

“Moving forward, I will no longer put my faith in police officers, the courts anything like that,” said Aisel Smith.