By RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press
WOODBINE, Ga. (AP) — A Kingsland police officer accused of shooting a fleeing man and charged with voluntary manslaughter is "not a danger" and deserves to be freed on bond while he awaits trial, his defense attorney told a judge Tuesday.
Zechariah Presley has been jailed since his arrest last month in the June 20 death of 33-year-old Tony Green. The shooting occurred while Presley was on-duty as a police officer in the small city of Kingsland near the Georgia-Florida state line.
Presley's attorney, Adrienne Browning, asked a Camden County Magistrate Court judge Tuesday to reconsider his earlier decision to deny the officer bond. Judge J. Alexander Atwood did not immediately rule on the request, which prosecutors opposed.
"He's not a danger to the community, which he spent the last year of his life protecting," Browning said. "He is charged with voluntary manslaughter with no malice, no premeditation, no deliberate revenge attributed to him."
Browning said Presley should be released so he can work to provide for his wife and two young children. She said he's willing to surrender his passport and abide by any other conditions the judge might set.
She also called to the witness stand Presley's pastor, who said he's known the officer for more than a decade.
"I don't see any reason in the world he would abscond from justice or be a flight risk," said Michael Sanes, pastor of the Harbor Worship Center.
Investigators have released few details about the shooting. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said Presley was following a vehicle Green was driving when Green got out and began to run. The two men got into a brief altercation, the bureau said, before Green began to flee again and Presley fired multiple gunshots, killing him.
Presley was charged with voluntary manslaughter and violating his oath office. Kingsland city officials quickly fired him from the police force.
Green's sister, Shalanda Roche, said outside the courthouse Tuesday the officer should be charged with murder.
"My brother, he is somebody," Roche told reporters. "There needs to justice. I wake up every day thinking about my brother."
In court, prosecutor Rocky Bridges told the judge that any bond for Presley should come with serious conditions including a nighttime curfew and a prohibition on Presley having guns.
"These are very serious charges that stem from a great violation of public trust," Bridges said.
The judge said he had concerns about prior complaints that had been filed against Presley and other "red flags" in his personnel file. On a questionnaire accompanying his job application with Kingsland police, Presley acknowledged having some physical fights with his wife during arguments, though he said they were in the past.
Atwood said he would issue a written order giving his bond decision, but he did not say when he would rule.
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