Grand Jury to Investigate Arkansas Trooper Shooting

MARCH 29, 2006 - Posted at 8:10 a.m. CST

BENTONVILLE, AR - A Benton County grand jury will decide whether to bring charges against an Arkansas state trooper who fatally shot a mentally disabled man whom officers thought was a dangerous fugitive from Michigan.

Prosecutor Robin Green made the announcement after her office spent two weeks looking into the March 7 shooting of unarmed Joseph Erin Hamley after the 21-year-old was approached by officers on Highway 412 in Benton County.

Hamley was fatally wounded by a shotgun blast fired by state trooper Larry Norman, who had responded to a suspected sighting of fugitive Adam Lee Leadford.  The 18-year-old Leadford was later captured that evening by Springdale police.  Leadford was shot and wounded while fleeing officers.

Circuit Judge David Clinger is to summon a jury panel tomorrow.  Sixteen jurors will be asked to decide whether Norman was justified in using deadly force and whether to charge him with a crime.  The grand jury has no set time for reaching a decision.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)