Indictment against deputies charged in taser death thrown out

A judge has thrown out the indictments against three former Washington County deputies charged in the death of  a 58-year-old black man who had asked for water from a stranger.

Superior Court Senior Judge H. Gibbs Flanders in the Middle Judicial Circuit said the indictment a grand jury issued in December against Michael Howell, Henry L. Copeland and Rhett Scott was invalid because there was not a certified court reporter taking down testimony during the proceeding.

Euree Lee Martin in an undated photo. Martin died after being stunned with Tasers by three Washington County sheriffs officers. (Photo courtesy of WJBF-TV) (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The three former lawmen were charged with felony murder, false imprisonment and aggravated assault in the death of Euree Lee Martin last July.  Martin had schizophrenia and lived in a Milledgeville group home. 

The deputies encountered Martin when they responded to a call from a homeowner. Martin had stopped to ask for a drink of water after walking 20 miles to see relatives in Sandersville.

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The district attorney can seek a new indictment, but it must be from a different grand jury.

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