Jury finds officers not liable in Farrow civil trial

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT & AP) – A Region 8 jury has found two West Memphis Police Officers not liable in the civil trial involving the 2007 shooting death of a West Memphis 12-year-old boy.

"When we heard the verdicts being read and realized that on those levels that we were being in essence told that our efforts were not being wasted was a great relief," said defense attorney Christian Michaels.

Evans and Sammis declined to speak on camera, but did say they are happy about the decision.

"The way that the jury has been so emphatically in favor of the way that we've seen this case consistently since the beginning is vindication for these officers," said Michaels.

It has also been a difficult time for the families on the other side of the case.

"It's tough.  I've been working with this family since the week after this incident occurred so they've almost become like family," said plaintiff attorney Javier Bailey.

Also on Friday the court decided that Pamela Farrow and Unseld Nance Sr., were no longer eligible to receive any kind of settlement in the case because Unseld Nance Jr., is now 18-year-old. The suit was filed while he was underage; making them eligible to receive any kind of monetary damages if the case was decided in their favor.

The families of Farrow and his cousin, Unseld Nance, Jr., were suing for $250 million against two West Memphis police officers involved in the June 2007 shooting death of DeAunta Farrow.

"It's an emotional time and they are not only emotionally tired but we're all worn out they've been here all week as a family so they decided to wait at the hotel and allow us to tell them," said Bailey.

Even though those with the defense are glad the jury found Evans and Sammis not liable they still understand the pain the Farrow family is going through.

The officers were conducting nighttime surveillance when Officer Sammis fatally shot DeAunta Farrow. Police have said the boy was holding a toy gun in a dimly lit parking lot.

Farrow's family and the family of Unseld Nance Jr., the boy with Farrow at the time of the shooting, sued the officers, saying they used excessive force and violated their civil rights.

"They've gone through something that me as a father and my clients as parents never want to have to go through," said Michaels.

"No verdict would have brought DeAunta Farrow back," said Bailey.

There is no word on if the decision will be appealed to a higher court.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.