Spillers tells his story - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Spillers tells his story

Donnie Spillers Donnie Spillers

Leesburg-- For the first time we learn Donnie Spillers' version of what happened the night he shot to death 17-year-old Wesley Beaver during a traffic stop. After hearing his statement and evidence from the G.B.I. Investigation, that Grand Jury indicted Spillers for Involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor. But Spillers lawyer said the former Deputy is not guilty of even that.

Donnie Spiller's attorney, Pete Donaldson, says the 18 year veteran officer cried while reading his prepared statement to the Grand Jury.  "He wanted to tell his story. At the same time he does not get through it well, without breaking down."

In the statement, Spillers testified that he chased the pick up truck because he believed the driver had broken into a pawn shop. Spillers said the truck tried to wreck him. statement "He swerved into my path. I thought he was trying to ram me. Each time I tried to pull up beside him, he swerved in front of me."

When the truck stopped, Spillers testified he ran at it with his gun drawn because that is procedure in a felony stop, then admits he shot the driver. "The driver made what I can only describe as a lunging movement, as if he were reaching down beside the seat. I do not know whether I fired the gun out of fear or from reflex. I am not sure whether I intended to pull the trigger."

Donaldson said "When you replay a traumatic event of this nature, you do second guess yourself. He does ask himself 'What was I really thinking?'"

Spillers to the grand Jury: "I could tell you that it was all an accident, or I could tell you that it was a reflex in self-defense. I can't be sure either way, but it was one of those two things."

Donaldson said "He would give you an awful lot of uncertainty in his own mind as to what happened."

Spillers is also charged with tampering with evidence, because his knife was found in Beaver's truck. While spillers statment says nothing about how his knife got into Beaver's truck, he told the grand jury that he told Investigators on the scene about his knife immediately. "I have never tried to make anyone think or believe that the knife belonged to anyone other than me."

Spillers attorney disputes the tampering charges and offers an explanation Donaldson said "Removal of a seatbelt, cutting of the seatbelt. Turns out he was not wearing a seatbelt, he was wearing a backpack. And so the effort to cut, and they discover it's not there, and then Donnie's wondering why I am here. The knife gets left in there."

Friends and family of Wesley Beaver stood outside the Courthouse during the Grand Jury hearing in this emotional case, saying the charges should be upgraded to murder. But his attorney says Spiller's is completely innocent.  "He's guilty of uncertainty, but he is not guilty of any crimes."

Donaldson says the many rumors about this case, including they were dating the same girl, have been disproved by the GBI. Donaldson said "This case has been whipped into a frenzy by those who seek to profit from it. And orchestrated much of the demonstration."

Fired by the Sheriff's Department, Spillers is working another job while on bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned the first week in May. Donaldson says the GBI investigation states that Wesley Beaver was wearing dark colored coveralls and a back pack when he was shot, and that a ski mask was found between the store and where the shooting happened.

Donaldson says they hope the Spillers trial will be held in October, and they do not plan to ask for a change of venue. The Beaver family attorney, T.Gamble, has announced that they will file a civil lawsuit against Spillers, Lee County, and the state of Georgia.

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