Prosecutors in Texas are no longer seeking the death penalty against a man who killed a police officer who was breaking into his home in a no-knock SWAT raid looking for proof he was dealing drugs.
Marvin Guy, 57, of Killeen has been in jail since May 2014 awaiting trial after police attempted to serve a warrant to search his home by sending a SWAT team, unannounced, through a window. Guy reportedly mistook the police for intruders. He opened fire and shot four of them. One of them, Det. Charles "Chuck" Dinwiddie, subsequently died of his injuries.
Guy was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and then eventually capital murder for Dinwiddie's death. Despite the complicated circumstances and the police's own responsibility for what happened, prosecutors said in 2014 they'd be seeking the death penalty against Guy.
And he's been sitting in prison ever since, awaiting trial, held on bonds totaling $4 million. This week the Killeen Daily Herald reported that the Bell County District Attorney's Office has finally agreed to waive the death penalty so that the case can move forward. Guy still faces life in prison if convicted.
Guy has not actually been charged with any drug-related crimes, even though the police raided his home in the first place for evidence of narcotics. All of the charges are a result of the no-knock raid going bad.
Guy's arrest and the circumstances behind it received brief national coverage in 2014 and then quickly faded. But the dangers of no-knock police raids continued to manifest across the country, and then took center stage in 2020 when Breonna Taylor was killed in Louisville, Kentucky, by police in another drug raid gone bad.
Some municipalities have decided to ban or severely restrict the use of no-knock raids. Killeen finally banned the practice in 2021, but that was two years too late for James Scott Reed, who was shot and killed by Killeen police in another no-knock raid searching for narcotics. One officer involved later resigned and then pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in an attempt to conceal that he had fired shots at Reed.
A trial date for Guy has still not been set. Now that capital punishment is off the table, prosecutors are hoping to bring it before a jury by next February, though Guy's defense team is asking for more time to line up expert witnesses.
Start your day with Reason. Get a daily brief of the most important stories and trends every weekday morning when you subscribe to Reason Roundup.