WTOC Investigates: Grand jury hears Boyd case
CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Monday, a grand jury convened to begin hearing testimony from those who witnessed the shooting death of 20-year old Ricky Boyd last January.
Police called Boyd their suspect in a murder that happened two days earlier and had gathered up the U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force and Metro Police to serve a warrant. They claim Boyd came out of his home firing a gun at police. That later changed to Boyd exiting the home with a BB pistol in his hand and refusing orders to drop it.
So, what will the members of that grand jury hear and see over the next two days? They will no doubt see that now infamous police body camera footage of the moments before, during, and after the 20-year-old was shot and killed. They will certainly hear from those who have been involved in the case, the officers who fired at Boyd that morning, GBI investigators, and Meg Heap's own prosecutors. However, they will not hear directly from those who have argued that police shot an innocent man.
Ricky's own family, despite being subpoenaed to appear, is staying away from the Grand Jury room. But why?
"From the day I saw the video," Jameillah Smiley, Ricky's mother, said.
Smiley says she lost confidence in the entire process the moment GBI showed her the bodycam footage.
WTOC: "Typically, you would think it would be critical that your side of the story get out there, yet, you're not showing up why?"
Jameillah: "I will not be participating in a cover-up. The local district attorney here has not been transparent at all with me and my family and my attorney, so we have decided not to participate in this cover-up."
Transparency, Smiley says, has been lacking up to the impaneling of the grand jury, and she points to this letter from her attorney dated May 7. In it, the family asks for a chance to review the statements they gave police much the way a police officer can review his reports in preparation for a grand jury appearance.
"As is routine… (the letter says), please provide me with the statements of Jameillah Smiley, Mattie Smiley-Wallace, and Ms. Smiley's minor children."
Smiley says the DA's office never responded.
However, Meg Heap's office told us just days ago, that's not true - hat Smiley and the family were, '…offered the opportunity to review their statements on May 11th.''That, ...'Ms. Smiley informed our office that she nor her family be coming to our office to discuss their appearances and statements.'
WTOC: "So, when the DA's office sends me an email and says we gave them the opportunity to review their statements on May 11th."
Jameillah; "Those are lies. Again, that is a lie."
In fact, Smiley recorded that May 3 phone call from JJ Hair, the DA's Victim Witness Advocate. Never was the topic of reviewing family statements brought up. Here's what it said:
JJ Hair: "This is just to go over procedural stuff and especially for the kids just so they can see where they are going to be and meet the people that are going to be asking them questions. It just seems to work out better for them."
Jameillah; "Yes, yes, yes, yes."
JJ Hair; "So, it's more or less just to get comfortable."
Jameillah; "And what is this for again?"
Hair: "Just to talk before the grand jury just to explain what the process is and how it's gonna, how everything will play out."
Doubling down, the DA's Chief Prosecutor, Greg McConnell, sent an email to Smiley's attorney, once again arguing that the family was a no-show at a meeting set up to review their statements to police.
"This office notified them to appear at the District Attorney's office on Friday, May 11 for that purpose but they failed to appear."
To say Ricky Boyd's family has lost confidence in this entire process would be an understatement.
WTOC: "Am I putting words in your mouth to say you think that this is a foregone conclusion?"
David; "You think this is just window dressing."
Jameillah; "Window dressing, yeah. They're doing what they want to do and she's showing everyone that she's gonna do what she wants to do, and it's not fair."
We asked the DA's office whether the grand jury would still see and hear the statements from Boyd's family. We did not get an answer. However, the family has been notified they will not be held in contempt for refusing to testify. If the grand jury does not hand over an indictment of the offcers involved in the shooting, the entire Ricky Boyd file could become public. That means witness statements, police reports, and that piece of police bodycam video that has gotten so much attention in this case.
If an indictment is handed down, that file will remain closed. We've alreadt made the request to see that file just as soon as the grand jury's work is done. Once we get it, you'll see it too.
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