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Officer Acquitted of Murder in Drunk Driver's Death

Officer Acquitted of Murder in Drunk Driver's Death

Everett police Officer Troy Meade, right, is greeted by a supporter Monday after Meade was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of an uncooperative drunken driver. [AP]

The Seattle Times via YellowBrix

April 27, 2010

EVERETT, Wa. — Everett police Officer Troy Meade was found not guilty Monday of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a drunken man in a car last summer.

A six-man, six-woman Snohomish County jury had deliberated for roughly five hours since Friday before reaching its decision.

Meade didn’t react when the first “not guilty” verdict was announced, on the second-degree-murder charge. Only after he heard the second “not guilty” verdict, on the manslaughter charge, did he show obvious relief.

Everett Police Chief Jim Scharf was among the first to congratulate Meade, leaning in close for a whispered conversation with his officer.

After the verdict, Meade said he appreciated the support he received from friends, family and fellow officers. About 100 people packed the courtroom to hear the verdict, many Meade supporters who had sat through much of the two-week trial.

“The support has been wonderful,” Meade said moments later. “I’m going back to work.”

The jury now will decide whether Meade should be compensated for his prosecution. To grant that, jurors would have to find that Meade acted in self-defense when he shot Niles Meservey in a restaurant parking lot in June.

Under state law, a finding that someone killed in self-defense is the only situation where a jury can provide compensation to pay for a defendant’s attorney’s fees, court expenses and time lost in fighting a charge.

The jury couldn’t reach a decision on compensation Monday and was sent home. Jurors will resume weighing the issue Tuesday morning.

Deputy Prosecutor Matt Baldock commended the multiagency law-enforcement team for conducting what he called a thorough and professional investigation into the shooting of Meservey. The fact that the defense didn’t attack the credibility of the investigation “speaks volumes,” Baldock said, adding that the decision to charge Meade was made “deliberately and carefully” by his office.

Baldock encouraged jurors to find that Meade did not act in self-defense, a finding that is to be based on objective evidence — not Meade’s perception of danger at the time of the shooting.

“The key difference is the objective stand — we know objectively the car was not moving back toward him and he wasn’t in a place where he would be struck,” Baldock said after the jury had returned to the jury room.

Meservey’s daughter, Tanda Louden, said in a written statement that she was confident the family would prevail in a $15 million wrongful-death civil suit filed against the city of Everett in February. The lawsuit accuses Meade of using excessive force.

“I am sorry the jury was unable to convict Officer Meade of a crime, but I understand how difficult it is to obtain a conviction where there is a presumption of innocence and a burden of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Louden said in the statement. “Nevertheless, I am confident that a jury in a civil case will find Officer Meade responsible and hold him fully accountable in the damage case.”

Meade, 41, shot Meservey as he sat in his Chevrolet Corvette in the parking lot of the Chuckwagon Inn on the night of June 10. Meade was responding to a 911 call alerting police that an apparently drunken man was trying to drive away from the restaurant.

Meade testified last week that Meservey ignored several orders to get out of the car. When he started the engine and put the Corvette in gear, it lurched forward and struck a chain-link fence. At issue during the trial was whether Meservey had put the car in reverse or if the vehicle simply had bounced off the fence when Meade opened fire.

Meade testified that he was standing to the left and rear of the Corvette when it started to approach him, and feared for his life before he fired eight times into the car.

Meservey, 51, was shot seven times and died at the scene.

After the shooting, Meservey’s blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.26, more than three times the state’s legal limit.

Last week, Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor John Adcock grilled Meade on cross-examination about other tactical options open to him, accusing Meade of using deadly force when he instead could have taken two steps back and used a nearby sport-utility vehicle for cover.

Everett police Officer Steven Klocker, also at the scene that night, testified he was “kind of at a loss” when Meade opened fire. “I was wondering what I missed to bring it to that extreme level of force,” Klocker testified.

Meade, who joined the Everett police in 1998, has been on paid administrative leave.

Prosecutors initially filed the lesser charge of manslaughter in October, accusing Meade of recklessly shooting Meservey. In March, prosecutors added the new charge of second-degree murder. To prove the new charge, prosecutors were required to convince the jury that Meade acted with intent to kill.

Jurors had the option of convicting Meade of one or both criminal counts, or acquitting him.

Meade’s attorney, David Allen, thanked jurors for ending Meade’s 10-month “nightmare” and allowing him to get on with his life.

“We’re very happy, very grateful and very thankful the jury reached the right verdict,” Allen said outside the courtroom.


+46
  • Photo_user_banned_big

    TeaParty2012

    about 4 years ago

    68 Comments

    Why would you want to go back to work? After the way they tried to railroad him I would take a disability retirement and stick it to them!

  • Car_004_max50

    copper380

    about 4 years ago

    2026 Comments

    OUT FREAKING STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    can I push the thumbs up button more than once?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    batman21

    about 4 years ago

    32 Comments

    Seven of eight shots hit their target, Dam good shooting!

  • Pot_luck_at_work_max50

    Omarra67

    about 4 years ago

    2284 Comments

    Glad the officer was acquitted.

  • Thi_seal_max50

    mpd_943

    about 4 years ago

    2486 Comments

    lawman1214 said it best.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    Way to go!

  • Pic_max50

    hcmo637

    about 4 years ago

    248 Comments

    That is awesome news!!!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    Great!!

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    about 4 years ago

    4972 Comments

    Great verdict!
    Welcome back Officer Meade, glad it worked out for you....
    God bless
    Stay Safe....

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    lawman1214

    about 4 years ago

    60 Comments

    I've worked in Washington State and California. I'm retired LE now. I was not surprised to hear the Prosecutor was going forward with the murder charge. Word's can't express the degree of the prosecutor's stupidity and, as he used these words, "lack of common sense". I heard that Meade's back up officer ran away when the suspect tried to flee in the car. He must be proud? I think he should transfer to the prosecutor's office as an investigator for his only friend in the world now, the equally stupid prosecutor, who was proud the defense didn't attack the quality of his investigation? (You LOST STUPID, that says plenty as to the quality and waste of tax payer money, regarding the quality of this case) By the way, does any officers out there disagree with me that, given the circs of this call, and now knowing that the suspect was 3 times over the limit, he posed a deadly threat to the public if he was allowed to flee the scene in his vehicle driving as aggressive as was reported? As most of you officers already know, Officer Meade will never recover from this experience. I know officers who faced less, and never recovered. God Bless him and his family and I hope time will help him move past this. I also hope that he never has to set eyes on the "back-up officer" who obviously "had his back" as he ran away. Actually, the A.H. Prosecutor needs to follow-up now by charging his primary witness with violating the Good Sam Act. (Federal Statute) He was required to render aid to Officer Meade, but ran away instead. I hope the agency is conducting an investigation into that officer's failure to act?

  • Image_max50

    usa_24

    about 4 years ago

    5022 Comments

    Congrats. Outstanding job done by the jury.

  • Dolphins_fantasy_max50

    dolphinblue

    about 4 years ago

    42974 Comments

    Excellent

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    about 4 years ago

    16726 Comments

    Perfect !!!!

  • Me_max50

    ERIKS1223

    about 4 years ago

    56 Comments

    Congrats!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    SUPER! One up for the good guys!

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