Ex-Georgia trooper facing murder charge granted bond

Julian Lewis was shot in the head by now-fired Georgia State trooper Jacob Thompson, who faces murder in the death. (Handout photos)

Credit: Handout photos

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Julian Lewis was shot in the head by now-fired Georgia State trooper Jacob Thompson, who faces murder in the death. (Handout photos)

Credit: Handout photos

A Georgia State Patrol trooper who was fired after being charged with murder in the death of a motorist was granted bond Monday morning.

Jacob Thompson was given a $100,000 bond by Superior Court Judge F. Gates Peed in Screven County, north of Statesboro. Thompson was released from the county jail hours after the judge’s order.

Julian Lewis, 60, was shot in the head on Aug. 7 by Thompson, who GBI agents have alleged gave inconsistent statements regarding events leading up to the shooting. Thompson said he thought Lewis was about to run him over because he revved the engine, but authorities found the car was actually disabled when the trooper fired.

Lewis’ family previously was buoyed by the knowledge that Thompson was held without bond because police officers who faced charges in homicide cases generally are granted bond. Lewis’ son, Brook Bacon, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the judge’s decision.

“It just doesn’t seem to fall in line with justice,” Bacon said in a news conference held via the Zoom video conferencing platform.

In the bond order, the judge imposed standard restrictions on Thompson, including that he stay away from guns, drugs and alcohol, as well as maintain employment. It isn’t clear if Thompson has a job secured. The state patrol terminated him after the shooting. The judge said four police officers had testified that Thompson wasn’t likely to flee prosecution.

Lewis family attorneys Francys Johnson and Mawuli Davis opposed the bond and said it lines up with what is common in the rare cases where police officers face charges of killing Black people. Lewis was Black, Thompson white.

”Before he could ask him his name, he had already decided he should die,” Johnson said during the news conference.

Johnson pointed out that the bond decision had nothing to do with the strength or weakness of the case against Thompson, as Georgia law bars judges from considering that when weighing whether a defendant should stay in jail before trial.

Last week, the family announced their intention to sue the state for $13 million, arguing that Thompson behaved recklessly while attempting to pull over Lewis for an alleged tail light violation. When Lewis continued driving, Thompson used his cruiser to push the car off the road and shot him about a second later, authorities have said.

An attorney for Thompson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.