EVERETT, Wash. - A Snohomish County jury has cleared an Everett police officer of criminal charges in the shooting death of a drunken-driving suspect in a restaurant parking lot.
Officer Troy Meade was acquitted of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter.
Meade said somehow he knew he wouldn't be spending the rest of his life in jail.
"I didn't think I was going to go to jail because I knew I'd done the the right thing," he said.
Meade, 41, was accused of using excessive force on a drunken driver in June of last year. Prosecutors said Meade had other
less lethal options before he decided to open fire on Niles Meservey, 51, of Stanwood.
Meservey died with seven gunshot wounds to his upper body.
Meade claimed Meservey attempted to run him over using his Corvette after several attempts to talk him out of the car. He said he fired because he feared for his life.
"My heart goes out to his family and I'm sorry, but if he had listened to me ... and he didn't," said Meade.
Meade's testimony during the trial often contradicted that of Everett police officer Steven Klocker, who testified that he didn't believe that anyone was in danger that night. Klocker testified that just before gunfire erupted Meade turned to him and said something to the effect of, "Enough is enough; time to end this."
Meade denied saying anything before he shot into the Corvette.
Meservey family makes statement
"I am sorry the jury was unable to convict Officer Meade of a crime, but I understand how difficult it is to obtain a conviction where there is a presumption of innocence and a burden of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt," said Tanda Louden, daughter of Niles Meservey. "Nevertheless, I am confident that a jury in a civil case will find Officer Meade responsible and hold him fully accountable in the damage case."
In February, the Meservey family filed a lawsuit against the city of Everett for the wrongful death of Niles Meservey, charging that Meade used excessive and deadly force when he killed Niles.
"The issues are, what standards do we want to have for police officers in our community when using deadly force in circumstances like this?" said Paul Luvera, attorney for Meservey's family.