Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Charge Against Betty Shelby
TULSA, Oklahoma - Wednesday, a judge set a trial date for Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, after deciding not to drop the manslaughter charge against here, and not to give her a new preliminary hearing.
Shelby's attorneys asked for the manslaughter charge to be dropped, or, for her to have another preliminary hearing.
They say at her first preliminary hearing they didn't get to put on the evidence they wanted, didn't get to call the witnesses they wanted or cross-examine a witness they wanted either, but, the judge disagreed.
Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed.
Shelby encountered Crutcher near 36th Street North and Lewis Avenue September 16, 2016. His SUV was stopped in the roadway, and a confrontation ensued that ended when Shelby fired her service weapon one time, striking him in the chest.
Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter for shooting Crutcher. She argued she feared for her life and that is why she shot Crutcher. She was bound over for trial after her original preliminary hearing back in November.
Her attorneys feel the District Attorney’s Office rushed to file charges before having the full report from the homicide sergeant who believes the shooting was justified by law.
They say Crutcher didn't follow repeated commands to stop, posed a danger by being high on PCP and reaching into his window.
Shelby’s attorney Shannon McMurray said, "As I've always said, as the evidence continues to unfold in this case, I'm confident a jury will find Betty not guilty."
The DA said he had all the reports he needed, including two videos, witness statements and the Medical Examiner's report.
They say either Shelby overreacted and fired in the heat of passion or she used too much force by law for shooting a man only committing the crimes of obstruction and public intoxication.
"I'm approaching this like any other case, and those of you who know me know I've handled a lot of officer-involved shootings," said Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler.
The judge ruled the preliminary hearing was proper and said the case is for a jury to decide.
The defense attorney plans to appeal the judge's decision, but, for now, he set a trial date of May 8th. That may or may not get postponed.