More court appearances in Spillers' future - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

More court appearances in Spillers' future

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May 19, 2006

Leesburg -- Donnie Spillers is still facing a civil suit filed by the family of Wesley Beaver. And the trial of that suit will be a little different than the trial of the criminal charges.

Much of the evidence used in Donnie Spillers' criminal trial will haunt him again, but in the wrongful death civil suit more evidence will be introduced.

Beaver Family Attorney T. Gamble said, "There's a lot of evidence that can be brought into the civil case that was not brought into the criminal case, most especially Donnie Spillers can not hide, he's got to testify at the civil trial."

That's because in a civil case, the prosecution can compel a witness, in this case the defendant, to take the stand. "We can compel him, and we will," Gamble said.

But that witness doesn't have to answer and can plead the fifth. "Donnie's got a lot of things to answer about, and understand, they can talk about his clean record, but we know for sure he's had this past type conduct in the past. He's done something similar in Moultrie," said Gamble.

Unlike the criminal trial, evidence that might be relevant to the case is admissible. "You can talk about prior bad acts by Donnie Spillers, you can talk about other circumstances that have arisen with the Sheriff's department, the standard of proof is different," said Gamble.

Like the O. J. Simpson case, a jury could return a much different verdict. "It is a much more likely event that you will him find to be responsible for the killing of Wesley Beaver in a Civil trial," said Gamble.

Gamble must wait until the appeal process expires before he can begin to depose potential witnesses. The suit names Lee County, the State of Georgia, Sheriff Harold Breeden, and Donnie Spillers as defendants.

The Beaver Family is asking for over $10 million in damages.

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