“Conflicts in testimony” and questions about credibility played a pivotal role in the decision to reject immunity for a former DeKalb County officer charged with murdering an unarmed veteran, Judge J.P. Boulee wrote in a ruling nearly three months in the making.
Robert Olsen’s defense team had argued for immunity during a two-day hearing in May. The veteran officer, who was fired after the fatal shooting of Anthony Hill in March 2015, had “the right of an individual to act in self-defense, whether he’s in uniform or not,” defense attorney Don Samuel argued.
Charges against Olsen would’ve been dropped had immunity been granted.
But Boulee said Olsen failed to show that he reasonably believed deadly force was necessary in order to avoid death or serious bodily harm to himself or anyone else.
“No evidence exists that defendant ever believed that Hill was about to kill him, and no witness testified that they thought Hill was capable of killing (Olsen),” Boulee wrote.
Olsen’s inconsistent account of what happened that night could not be ignored, according to the judge.
He pointed to testimony by DeKalb Officer Lyn Anderson, who arrived on the scene moments after the shooting. Anderson testified that Olsen told her Hill had attacked him, though Olsen later acknowledged that never happened.
The judge also noted Olsen’s distinct size advantage over Hill — about 5 inches and 40 pounds.
“Importantly, Hill did not have any weapons and did not make any verbal threats towards defendant,” the judge concluded.
So now, more than three years after the shooting and three months after Olsen’s testimony in the immunity hearing, the much-anticipated trial will finally proceed, though no date has been set.
Coming Thursday: What’s next in the case against Robert Olsen
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