UNITED STATES NEWS

Judge denies request by three former Memphis officers to have separate trials in Tyre Nichols death

Oct 2, 2023, 2:04 PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A judge on Monday denied requests by three former Memphis officers to have separate trials in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols after a traffic stop.

Lawyers for Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills and Justin Smith had filed motions to sever their cases from Demetrius Haley and Emmitt Martin, arguing that they could not receive fair trials if they all face a jury together for the violent beating of Nichols on Jan. 7 that was caught on police video.

Shelby County Judge James Jones issued an order Monday denying those requests, saying that severing the cases is not required to protect their rights to a “fair determination” of their guilt or innocence.

All five former members of a Memphis Police Department crime-suppression unit have pleaded not guilty to state charges including second-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the beating of Nichols, who was punched, kicked and slugged with a police baton after he fled a traffic stop during which he was hit with a stun gun and pepper spray.

Nichols, 29, died in a hospital three days after the beating. An autopsy report showed Nichols died from blows to the head, and the manner of death was homicide. The report described brain injuries, cuts and bruises to the head and other parts of the body.

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Judge denies request by three former Memphis officers to have separate trials in Tyre Nichols death