Jury begins deliberations in accused cop killer's trial - New York News

Jury begins deliberations in accused cop killer's trial

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William Woodard (WAGA-TV file Photo) William Woodard (WAGA-TV file Photo)
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

Jurors heard closing arguments in the murder trial of accused cop killer William Woodard in a DeKalb County courtroom on Thursday.

Woodard's lawyers spent the last two weeks arguing that the defendant was a man who was "fearing for his life" when he shot two off duty officers in DeKalb County in January, 2008. During the trial, Woodard told a DeKalb County Superior Court jury that he fired in self-defense, afraid that they were going to shoot him.

Woodard, 34, is accused of gunning down DeKalb County police officers Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant while they worked off duty security jobs at an apartment complex.

Defense attorney Bill Morrison told jurors that "the state has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Woodard did not act in self-defense."

In addressing the jury, defense attorney Dwight Thomas described the case as "a classic Troy Davis prosecution. Everybody saw snapshots, nobody saw the whole picture. You don't have to let someone keep beating you even if it is the police. You don't have to wait to be shot at to fire a shot in self-defense."

Thomas also told jurors that the DeKalb County Police Department manipulated evidence at the crime scene to protect its own.

Defense attorneys wrapped up their arguments just before noon.

Prosecutors then began their arguments. DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James described the officers as heroes, not thugs with authority like defense attorneys tried to portray them. James also told the jurors that there's no physical evidence Woodard was beaten that night by Barker and Bryant.

Jurors began deliberating around 3:45 p.m. By 6:00 p.m., the jury had already posed two questions to the judge. They asked to hear police radio traffic the night of the shootings. While listening to that traffic, they wanted to hear the testimony of the commander of the 911 call center.

If convicted, Woodard could get the death penalty.

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