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Deputy Free On Bond

Donnie Spillers is charged with manslaughter Donnie Spillers is charged with manslaughter

Leesburg -- Lee County Sheriff's Department sources say Donnie Spillers "panicked" after shooting the 17-year-old, and "did something stupid."

Now, Spillers has worked his last day for the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Harold Breeden says he's firing Spillers.

Spillers was arrested yesterday in connection with the slaying of Wesley Beaver. He is now free on $12,000 bond.

Beaver was suspected of trying to break into a pawn shop February 14th, when Spillers and another deputy pulled over the teenager's truck.

GBI investigators say Spillers planted his large knife in the truck after shooting Beaver in the face, then lied to investigators. The deputy now faces two felony and two misdemeanor charges.

"The decision was made about 4:30 yesterday afternoon that there was definitely we believed probable cause that a crime had occured,"said District Attorney Cecilia Cooper.

The GBI says Wesley Beaver pulled over for Lee County deputies, and was not forced to stop. Spillers shot him once in the head. But District Attorney Cecilia Cooper says involuntary manslaughter is all she can charge him with.

"The elements of murder are that you do it with malice aforethought with the intention of killing the person. It's not there," the district attorney said.

With the teen mortally wounded, the GBI says Spillers then planted his own large knife in Beaver's truck, and told investigators it was the teen's. The GBI says that is why the investigation took so long, and secrecy was so important, despite the community demanding facts on the shooting.

"Agent Jackson, the GBI, and my office tried very hard to keep an open mind in this matter throughout this investigation," Cooper said. "You don't want to make any determinations until you have all the evidence collected."

Spillers could face a maximum of 12 years in prison if convicted.

Lee County Sheriff's sources tell WALB News 10 that although Captain Spillers has been on administrative leave, he was allowed to ride on patrol with working deputies in the last week to help him with depression.

Sheriff Breeden says Spillers has been a good deputy, but today he began the termination process.

posted by brian.russell@walb.com