CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Beginning Monday, a grand jury will hear detailed testimony in the Savannah Police officer-involved shooting death of Ricky Boyd.
The Chatham District Attorney says it's a process that will take as long as it needs to to get the job done, whether that results in an indictment or not. Boyd was shot to death by police as a U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Boyd back in January.
To indict or not to indict. For at least the first part of this week, that's what 23 grand jurors will be considering as they hear testimony from investigators, police at the scene, and others close to the case. Grand jurors will also have the opportunity to ask the witnesses questions along the way as they work toward making the decision to indict or not in the officer-involved shooting death of Ricky Jerome Boyd.
Boyd was wanted in connection to a previous murder on Savannah's west side just days earlier. His first official day on the job, Savannah Interim Police Chief Mark Revenew initially told us on scene that Boyd shot first and that officers returned gunfire. Revenew also said a Savannah police sergeant was shot in the exchange. Later in a news conference, Revenew said Boyd confronted officers with a weapon and was fatally wounded. We learned from the GBI that the weapon was a CO2 powdered B.B. gun.
It's the change in the statements from police as well as the GBI's decision to show a portion of police bodycam video to Boyd's family in the following weeks that fueled a push by the family and their lawyer for the video to be released publicly, and for the case to be handed over to federal investigators and prosecutors. To that demand and deadline to meet, DA Heap said she doesn't respond to threats, and added all the evidence should be presented to a grand jury where rules of evidence apply.
Heap said she believes it's a process that is fair and transparent. Earlier this month, former longtime Chatham District Attorney Spencer Lawton explained the significance of the grand jury's role in a case like this.
"The whole point of the process is to insulate it from exactly this: misinformation, political agendas, agitation by people who see an opportunity for profit or for political advancement or who simply want to advance one side of the case against the other one before it ever gets to court."
This is the third time since taking office in 2013 that Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap has presented a case to the grand jury in an officer-involved shooting case.
In 2015, a grand jury decided to not support criminal charges against the Savannah-Chatham Police officer who shot and killed Charles Smith in west Savannah after Smith was taken into custody, but escaped from the police cruiser.
That law subjects officers who shoot and kill on duty to questioning by the grand jury, and cross-examination by the DA's office. Officers are also not allowed to sit in the grand jury room for all the testimony like before.