SANDERSVILLE, Ga. — Michael Howell was the first of the three former deputies accused in the Tasing death of Eurie Martin to testify Wednesday.
Howell says after responding to a suspicious person call in 2017, he had a "bad feeling" interacting with Martin.
"At first, I just thought something was wrong; I didn't know if he was intoxicated, high on drugs. I just knew it wasn't right the way he was acting," he said.
Howell recalled Martin acting as if he wanted to fight.
"When he went to the right, the Coke can he had in his hand, he threw it to the ground, and he got into a posture, a stance like he was going to fight and he had his fist clenched, and at that time, I drew my weapon -- that's the only thing I had. I had no Taser, no nothing," he recalled.
The prosecution cross-examined Howell, claiming dashcam video captured his voice saying he needed to find something to charge Martin with that day despite testifying to the defense he had no plans to write a citation.
"The first voice says, 'Charge him with trespassing,' the second voice says, 'Hell yeah, charge him with trespassing, got to do these damn reports,' and the third voice says, 'With trespassing, disorderly conduct, and obstruction.' Those are three different voices. Would you agree with me that was probably a conversation you were having with your codefendants?" prosecutor Kelly Weathers asked Howell.
"I'm not sure. I can't say who said what," he answered.
During testimony, Howell said Martin's interaction with the Taser wasn't normal, and it was scary to see a grown man pull out Taser probes.
Another former deputy, Rhett Scott, is also expected to testify.
According to lawyers, the third suspect, Henry Lee Copeland, will not.
The judge said they should be done presenting evidence by the end of the day Thursday.