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Judge shields Presley jury foreperson's ID due to 'divisive nature of this case'

Former Kingsland police officer acquitted in death of Tony Green

Zechariah Presley was booked into the Camden County jail after being found guilty of violation of oath. He will be sentenced next Oct. 18.
Zechariah Presley was booked into the Camden County jail after being found guilty of violation of oath. He will be sentenced next Oct. 18.

WOODBINE, Ga. – The identity of the foreperson of the Camden County jury that found a former Kingsland police officer not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed man is being protected by the state.
 
After 20 hours of deliberations, the jury found Zechariah Presley not guilty of both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Tony Green after a June 2018 traffic stop, but did convict Presley of violating his oath of office.

Presley sat silently at the defense table as the verdicts were read. Green's relatives wiped away tears.

Outside the courthouse Saturday night, those supporting the Green family denounced the acquittals, saying the evidence was "open and shut.''

When the jury foreperson's name was redacted on the verdict form obtained by News4Jax, the I-Team learned that Chief Judge Stephen Scarlett Sr. Issued an order to protect the identity of that person.

"Given the highly publicized and, at times, divisive nature of this case throughout the proceedings, the Court finds that the potential harm resulting to the jury foreperson clearly outweighs the public interest in knowing his or her identity," Scarlett wrote in his order.

During jury deliberations on Saturday morning, Juror 15 -- the only African-American on the panel -- was excused because she was sick. She explained told News4Jax she felt threatened by other jurors and that stress is what made her sick.

"It was very hostile," the woman said, describing the discussions trying to reach a verdict.

Presley's attorney said she would appeal the one guilty plea, for which he could receive one to five years in prison. Presley, who had been out on bail since shortly after he was indicted, was taken into custody until he is sentenced on Oct. 18. (New booking photo at top of this story.)

Green's family obtained an attorney to fine a civil lawsuit, but that effort was on hold until the criminal proceedings concluded. The family hopes to recover damages that can support Green's children. 

Green's family also hopes the Department of Justice will consider federal charges, which it has in other cases where an unarmed motorist was killed.


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