Antonio Marshall, Memphis Police Department officer charged with causing off-duty high-speed motor vehicle accident who killed two men last week, is deeply sorry for what he did, his defense lawyer said Thursday.
“After speaking to Mr. Marshall both yesterday in court and again today, he just focused on his feelings of remorse for the lives he was responsible for taking,” said his lawyer, Blake. Ballin.
“Whether his actions constituted a crime is another question. But it is indisputable that his actions led to the deaths of two more, and he is incredibly remorseful. He has dedicated his entire life to serving and protecting people. , and he’s devastated by what happened in this situation.
Marshall faces two counts of homicide and driving related to the June 25 accident, which took place at the intersection of Walnut Grove and Timber Creek Drive.
Investigators downloaded information from his car’s crash data system and concluded he was traveling 114 mph five seconds before the crash and 99 mph when he struck another vehicle, according to an affidavit. of arrest.
The accident tore the other vehicle in two and killed Walter Morris, 42, and Travis Parham, 19.
Marshall pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. He is scheduled to appear before Judge Bill Anderson on August 2 for a review by Veterans Court.
Marshall’s attorney said his client was honorably discharged from the military some time ago and most recently served in the Air National Guard, which allows part-time service.
He said his client was stationed overseas, but not in a combat zone.
The lawyer said the judge wanted to assess him in court.
“Based on the type of charges against him, he wanted to make sure that there were no significant mental health issues with Mr. Marshall, and if there were any, that he received help for that, ”the lawyer said.
Due to the nature of the charge, Marshall will not be eligible for veterans court treatment programs, the lawyer said.
“It’s just ‘As a condition of release, I want to make sure you’re stable.'”
Memphis Police Records Show Prior Disciplinary Incident For Marshall
Marshall, is 27 years old and was not on duty at the time of the accident. He had joined the MPD as a police recruit in June 2019, becoming a commissioned officer in November of the same year, according to police records released on Thursday.
The files show a previous disciplinary incident. Disciplinary report says he was heading for a “gunshots” call just after midnight on September 16, when he started a traffic stop, chased a vehicle that refused to stop, then halted the chase and proceeded with the appeal.
At the location where the shots were fired, he saw shell casings and a vehicle that could have been hit by gunfire, but left without writing a memo, picking up the shell casings or take pictures of the area, says the disciplinary report.
These steps are important for investigations – local law enforcement agencies work here with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, a federal agency that uses a computerized system to examine cartridge cases for common marks. Examination of casings may link to seemingly unrelated shootings.
The disciplinary report also accused Marshall of not turning on his body camera.
Marshall gave a written statement in which he admitted to starting the vehicle chase, then interrupting it, then going to the scene of the shooting and leaving without reporting.
“It has come to my attention now that a supervisor should have been contacted and at least a memo should have been generated,” he wrote. “It was also brought to my attention that my body camera was not on during this event. I thought I activated the camera: but I did not. I now know that a supervisor should have been contacted and that at least a memo should have been generated. ”
An internal investigation concluded that Marshall had violated departmental rules regarding writing official reports, vehicle chases and the use of body cameras. He was suspended for three days and took days off in late February and early March.
The available police records show no internal discipline related to the recent accident, but it normally takes time for the police disciplinary process to take its course.
The accident occurs amid an increase in reckless driving
The recent fatal crash comes as Memphis faces increased levels of reckless driving, ranging from unauthorized auto shows where people drive in tight circles, to speeding on local freeways – a driver posted a Youtube video of him – even driving over 100 miles per hour on a Memphis freeway.
Similar trends have been documented nationally.
“Preliminary data tells us that during the national health emergency, fewer Americans drove, but those who did took more risks and had more fatal crashes,” the National Highway Traffic Administration wrote. in an open letter in January.
Equally powerful Dodge Chargers and muscle cars are especially popular in Memphis. Marshall is accused of driving a 2019 Dodge Charger during the crash.
Detailed records of Marshall’s personal and work history prior to joining MPD were not immediately available.
Still, his short tenure may renew questions about MPD’s recruiting standards – for years the department has struggled to recruit enough officers to increase the size of the force and replace departing officers.
Investigative journalist Daniel Connolly values advice and comments from the public. Contact him at 529-5296, [email protected], or on Twitter at @danielconnolly.