Grand Jury To Decide On Criminal Charges In Hamley Shooting
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 29, 2006
SPRINGDALE, ARKANSAS--The prosecutor looking into the shooting death of Joseph Erin Hamley announced Tuesday that she would convene a grand jury to determine whether the state trooper who shot the young man would face criminal charges.
Benton County Prosecutor Robin Green, who took over the investigation last week, said in a press conference that the 16-member panel and five alternates would be selected Thursday. The grand jury will decide whether charges should be filed against State Police Trooper Larry Norman, but will not determine his guilt or innocence.
Officers were looking for 18-year-old Michigan prison escapee Adam Lee Leadford when they spotted Hamley, 21, walking along a highway about 12 miles from his home at about 7:00 a.m. on March 7.
A total of six officers from the Benton County Sheriff's department and State Police drew their guns as they approached Hamley, who had cerebral palsy, an intellectual disability, and mental illness. When the officers told him to get down on the ground, and to put his hands up where the officers could see them, Hamley reportedly got on the ground and rolled onto his back, but kept one hand in his pocket.
About four minutes from the time officers first came onto the scene, Trooper Norman, the last officer to arrive, shot Hamley in the stomach once with a shotgun from more than 75 feet away and across two lanes of traffic.
Family members and friends later explained that Hamley often put his hands in his pockets when he was nervous or afraid.
The grand jury will likely review footage of the incident taken from a video camera mounted in Norman's patrol car. Green would not confirm whether a woman, who reportedly took photos of the shooting, had turned pictures over to her office.