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09-28-07, 07:46 PM #11*girl Guest
Brother acquitted in attack on off duty deputy...
Second brother acquitted in attack
By STEPHEN GURR
It has been an up-and-down week for the family of brothers Shane and Walter Gibbs.
On Monday, the Murrayville family anguished over a 12-year prison sentence Shane Gibbs received after pleading guilty to assaulting an off-duty Hall County sergeant.
On Thursday, family members cried tears of joy as a jury acquitted 36-year-old Walter Gibbs of the same charges.
"There sure are a lot of mixed emotions," said the brothers' oldest sister, Patricia McCracken.
The big, burly brothers were charged in a Nov. 18 attack on Hall County Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Smith.
According to court testimony, Shane Gibbs was driving and Walter Gibbs was a passenger when their truck got behind Smith's Jeep on Nopone Road. Shane Gibbs got the deputy to pull over by flashing his headlights and blowing his truck's horn.
Shane Gibbs then walked up to Smith, shoved him, and a physical confrontation ensued, according to court testimony. Walter Gibbs eventually intervened and broke it up. Smith, who was in civilian clothes and unarmed, came away with minor scratches and abrasions to his neck and face.
The Gibbs brothers left the scene, with Shane driving, and were arrested later in the day.
The attack stemmed from an encounter a few days earlier, when Smith arrested Walter Gibbs at his home on a theft by receiving charge. Shane Gibbs was angered that the deputy enlisted his brother's son to help him serve the arrest warrant, according to court testimony.
The prosecution said Walter Gibbs was a party to the assault because he stood close by and encouraged his brother by yelling, "This is what happens when you mess with our family."
Walter Gibbs took the witness stand in his own defense Wednesday to deny he ever made any threatening statements.
It took a jury of nine women and three men about two and a half hours Thursday to decide that Walter Gibbs was not guilty of charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, felony obstruction, terroristic threats and battery. He faced up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charge.
Walter Gibbs smiled slightly and slowly nodded as the verdict was announced in Hall County Superior Court. He then turned to his lawyer, Senior Assistant Public Defender Anne Watson, and said, "Thank you."
Smith had no outward reaction to the verdict. He later approached Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance and thanked her for her efforts in the three-day trial. He declined to comment on the verdict afterward.
The jury foreman also declined to comment afterward.
The case, according to Vance, came down to statements Smith said Walter Gibbs made during the confrontation.
Said the prosecutor in her closing argument to the jury, "It boils down to one statement, one that Jason hears over and over: 'This is what happens when you mess with my family.' Jason was doing his job the best that he could, and he was attacked because of it."
Watson, the public defender, told the jury that the felony-grade charges didn't match the evidence in what she described as a "scuffle."
"This is a high-stakes crime with low-grade facts," she said.
Noting Smith's minor injuries, Watson said, "If he weren't a police officer, where would this case have gone? State court, probably. It would have been a misdemeanor."
Watson said the case reminded her of the "Dukes of Hazzard" television series, with its two brothers who have frequent encounters with the law.
"They're good old boys, and law enforcement knows them," she said. "(Walter Gibbs) didn't do anything but break it up. There's something like a "Dukes of Hazzard" prejudice here." Walter Gibbs was taken by deputies back to the Hall County jail to be processed before his release and was not immediately available for comment. His family praised the public defender for winning his acquittal, and vowed to appeal the sentence his brother received. "We feel like justice was served, as far as Walter goes, but not as far as Shane goes," McCracken said.
09-28-07, 08:02 PM #2
Something tells me that the next time the "good boys" meet law enforcement that it will take more than Boss Hog to get them out of it.
Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat
"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway
The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Five-0" on Officerresource.com
09-28-07, 08:54 PM #3
Ok, I'm pissed.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
09-29-07, 01:29 PM #4GrasshopperVerified LEO
- Join Date
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WTF!And Shepards we shall be,
for thee, My Lord, for thee,
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
And teeming with souls will it ever be.
In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.
09-29-07, 01:37 PM #5
That sucks! They didn't even send him to bed without supper.
Pretty women make us BUY beer. Ugly women make us DRINK beer. --Al Bundy
09-29-07, 07:09 PM #6
If he would have carried his weapon off duty, it never would have gotten that far. Can you say "Im afraid for my life cause I am being stalked by someone I arrested."
Problem solved.Are you a 3%er? If you aren't, you should be.
09-29-07, 07:12 PM #7
I do wonder at him not being armed off duty, but either way seems like a stoopid jury.I'm your huckleberry...
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!
You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.
I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
but every girl I found was either one way or the other...
09-30-07, 12:21 PM #8
There just isn't any reason I can think of for an off duty police officer to not be armed. I'm not saying he should have shot anybody, (and I'm not saying he shouldn't), I don't know how big the sarge was, and the brothers have been identified as big, burly guys...but if I pull over for someone flashing their lights and honking their horn, I'm going to be ready for trouble.
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