Parents want charges upgraded -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Parents want charges upgraded

Lee County-- A Lee County Grand Jury is scheduled to hear the case against Captain Donnie Spillers tTuesday afternoon. Investigators say Lee County Deputy Spillers shot and killed 17-year-old Wesley Beaver during a traffic stop February 14th.

Spillers was arrested March 7th, and charged with involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor. Now Beaver's family is asking the District Attorney and Grand Jury to raise the charges to second degree murder.

Beaver's family took the unusual step of writing a letter to District Attorney Cecelia Cooper. They wrote, "We feel Mr. Spillers intentionally killed Wesley." And they want Cooper to read the letter to the grand jury.

About midnight February 14th two Lee County Deputies chased the 17 year old Beaver from a pawn shop, where he was suspected of trying to break in. Beaver stopped about a mile away, and was shot in the head by Captain Spillers. Beaver died hours later.

Three weeks later the GBI arrested Spillers. They charge he lied about the shooting, and even planted a large knife in Beaver's car. But after the arrest, District Attorney Cecelia Cooper said she could only charge Spillers with involuntary manslaughter, not murder. Cooper said, "Because the elements of murder are that you do it with malice aforethought, with the intention of killing the person. It's not there."

In their letter, Beaver's family wrote "We submit respectfully this emotional appeal to you, to upgrade the charge to murder, second degree."

The family describes the pain and sorrow Wesley's death has caused. "We will always wonder why Mr. Spillers felt compelled to point his gun at the face of an unarmed, seventeen year old boy, and in a matter of moments, pull the trigger." Spillers was fired by the Lee County Sheriff, and is now free on bond.

WALB News Ten tried several times today to contact District Attorney Cecelia Cooper, but could not reach her. The Beavers did not want to comment on camera.

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