Though an Upson County jury found Christopher Calmer guilty in the 2014 fatal shooting of Monroe County deputy Michael Norris on Tuesday, the prosecution's job was not done.
The sentencing phase began shortly after, where the state will argue Calmer should receive the death penalty.
Prior to any witnesses being called, the jury was reminded of their three options for Calmer -- life with the possibility of parole, life without the possibility of parole, or death.
Calmer’s lawyer objected to the state's intent to offer nine victim impact witnesses and 42 photographs during the sentencing phase of the trial, but the judge denied their request to limit the number of witnesses.
“Christopher Calmer turned peacekeepers of this community into targets,” prosecutor Elizabeth Bobbitt told jurors in her opening statement.
The first of the victim impact statements was from Alicia Elder, the current superintendent of Monroe County Schools. Norris was the school resource officer at Sutton Elementary back when Elder was principal.
“He patrolled the grounds every day giving high-fives and hugs,” Elder said. “He was a dedicated mentor, especially to the male students.”
The prosecution also called Norris’ lifelong friend Garrett Mitchell.
He began weeping almost immediately after he started to read his statement, “My world was turned upside down, I was lost and didn’t know what to do. He was like a brother to me.”
Several jurors were visibly upset listening to Mitchell’s impact statement.
“I lost a part of me the day Michael lost his life,” Mitchell told the jury.
Sheriff John Carey Bittick told the jury he had known Norris his whole life.
“He was one of the best deputies I ever hired,” Bittick said. “Michael Norris is one of the best men I knew.”
Bittick said Norris’ death forever changed Monroe County.
Norris’ wife of five months, Logan Norris Doyle, told the jury how Calmer’s actions changed her life.
“On September 14, 2014, I woke up... I was no longer Michael’s wife, I was his widow,” Norris Doyle said.
She said she’s never felt so alone.
“I would go to bed in tears and wake up in tears,” Norris Doyle said.
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