While the jury found that Massengill did not use excessive force when he shot Zeta in the back, through his windshield. The John D. Giddens Law Firm has appealed the findings of the lower court and looks to the 5th Circuit Court to review whether the jury should have been given confusing and prejudicial information. Read on for an account of how this played out at trial, and we will keep you updated with the appeal process.
The jury sent out a note about an hour and a half into deliberations asking for a copy of Zeta’s guilty plea, which had not been introduced into evidence. It was clear during the course of the trial Zeta had no choice but to plea to whatever deal she was offered or face a potential 20 years in prison for aggravated assault on a police officer. The district attorney’s office in Harrison County pushed for her to plea to a felony disorderly conduct, a strategy which looked as though helped benefit the county in the civil litigation. Zeta would have pled to whatever was offered to be able to return home to her kids – whatever the language in the plea.
We are working with our webmaster to bring to you a link to the video showing Zeta being knocked down and dragged around the Harrison County detention center on October 30, 2005. Check back with us over the next couple of days. This is the reason why she was scared to pull over for the Harrison County deputies attempting to stop her. The jury heard none of this information, only that she had been drinking at the time and was scared of the police officers and scared of going to jail. In our mind, her fear was rational because in February of 2006, these same four jailers who beat Zeta McBroom in October, were involved, and served time in connection with the beating death of Jessie Lee Williams.
We believe the jury should have been told Zeta had a legitimate reason for not pulling over the night she was shot. The Payne era jail beatings made the public, and Zeta in particular, fearful and distrustful of the police. She would not allow herself to go back to that jail to be abused and beaten again. She was told by the same sadistic jailers that if she ever returned, she would surely die.
The people who are most surprised by the jury’s verdict are the people that lived out there on Beulah Church Road and eye-witnessed the entire shooting incident and testified how the police opened fire on Zeta as she was merely trying to back out of a ditch. This story is completely different than what the police claim to have occurred. It is always been our contention that Sergeant Massengill opened fire on Zeta after she bumped into his car and was driving away down a dead-end street. The evidence supported this.
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