Two law enforcement officers pleaded not guilty on Tuesday (Mach 1) to murder and other charges in the 2016 death of Jamarion Robinson, a 26-year-old Black man who was shot by police almost 60 times.
According to 11 Alive, U.S. Marshall Eric Heinze and Clayton County police officer Kristopher Hutchens appeared in court virtually to enter their not guilty pleas.
In 2016, a U.S. Marshals task force was serving a warrant for Robinson’s arrest and opened fire in his girlfriend’s East Point, Georgia apartment. Heinze was a member of the task force, while Hutchens was serving on the U.S. Marshal Service SE Regional Fugitive Task Force.
There is no body camera footage from the confrontation, as U.S. Marshals weren’t allowed to wear them at the time. However, cellphone video recorded outside the apartment captured nearly three minutes of gunfire. A medical examiner’s report later revealed Robinson was shot 59 times and died of 76 gunshot wounds.
Heinze and Hutchens were indicted by a grand jury on charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, making false statements and violation of oath by a public officer last October, five years after the incident. The case has been continuously delayed due to the pandemic, but a trial date has now been set for Sept. 12.
“I didn’t know how long it was going to take,” Jamarion Robinson’s mother Monteria Robinson said Tuesday. “I didn’t expect for it to take this long, but we are here. We are grateful. We are thankful we are seeing justice prevail.”
According to his mother, Robinson suffered from schizophrenia, which she says the officers were aware of.
“They were aware that my son suffered from a mental illness. So, we want all of those [officers] that were present that day charged as well, well no matter what. No matter what part they played,” she said. “Somebody handcuffed him, somebody dragged him down the stairs.”
Heinze and Hutchens were placed on administrative duty after their indictment.