Former Washington County Sheriff’s deputies claim 2017 tasing death was ‘self defense’

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SANDERSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Three former Washington County Sheriff’s deputies, who are indicted on felony murder charges for the stun-gun death of a man, are claiming the incident was ‘self-defense.’

Michael Howell, Henry Copeland, and Rhett Scott appeared in court Wednesday morning for an immunity hearing.

District Attorney Hayward Altman says the charges stem from July 2017 when the now-former deputies tased 58-year old Eurie Martin. He subsequently died. The district attorney says the confrontation with deputies happened when Martin asked a stranger for water after walking dozens of miles.

Altman says Howell, Copeland, and Scott (who are Caucasian) say Martin (who is African-American) was resisting them, which lead to the tasing.

Wednesday morning, the former sheriff deputies’ lawyers submitted evidence, videos, and witnesses to try and prove the incident was in self defense.

The judge is expected to come to a conclusion October 31st, 2019 on if it was self defense. If the judge rules it wasn’t, the trial is expected to begin December 9th.

The incident was recorded on cellphone video.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.