Father of fallen Monroe Co. deputy speaks to the jury: 'Our life was ruined'

After days of hearing expert testimony, the jury finally heard from the parents of Deputy Michael Norris.

His mother told the jury about his childhood, and how he was always willing to help others.

She said family got together every Sunday night for taco night, Michael’s favorite.

“There’s not a day that goes by that Michael is not my thoughts,” Fran Norris said. “We will never know his true potential.”

His father Bennett Norris went through more than 40 photos that span Michael’s life.

Bennett is a volunteer fire chief in Monroe County. He remembers hearing the tone drop on September 13, 2014, for shots fired.

“In my heart, I knew something terrible happened,” Bennett said.

"He started to pray for both deputies, but he knew Michael was the one in critical condition.

“I knew there was very little chance my son wouldn’t make it,” Bennett said.  

He then told the jury how they made the decision to end life support, and how Michael gave his organs to others.

“We were broken, battered down and just lost without his presence,” Bennett said. “Our life was ruined, a hole opened in our heart that will never go away.”


After Norris’ parents spoke, the defense then called its first witness – Calmer’s lifelong friend, Richard Williams.

“I’ve never known the man to be violent a day in my life,” Williams said. “I hope you can find it in your heart to not put him to death.”

The defense played a recording of an interview done with Calmer’s father, Keith Calmer. The court allowed it to be played since Keith has since passed away.

“He was so smart, he was so genius, he had a 160 something IQ,” Keith Calmer said in the recording.

Calmer’s uncle, Tommie McRae retuned to the stand.

“We were afraid and we were desperate,” McRae told the jury why he made the initial 911 call.

Cheryl Calmer also took the stand one final time to plead for her son’s life.

District Attorney Jonathan Adams gave the closing argument for the state.

He refuted statements from Calmer’s ex-wife, who said he shouldn’t be put to death for his actions.

“That one day is all it took for a 24-year-old man to die and deputy Wilson to be shot three times,” Adams said.

He reminded the jury that Calmer has been sitting in jail reading, eating candy bars, and drinking coffee.

“That’s not punishment for this man, justice in this case is for meaningful punishment,” Adams said.

Calmer’s defense lawyer Gabrielle Amber Pittman gave their closing argument.

“Both deputies were peace keepers, and Deputy Norris died doing his job,” Pittman said.

She told the jury “when you convict someone you look at a crime,” when you sentence you look at a person’s life.

“It takes 12 people for death, one person for life,” Pittman said. She said story of Chris’ life is tragic but also inspiring.

“We’ve presented redeeming qualities, because there’s still good in Chris,” Pittman said.

She then listed 20 reasons for a life sentence including Calmer being sexually assaulted when he was younger, physical, and mental illness.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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