Costly Punch - Former Colbert Cop on Trial

4-26-04 - A former Colbert police officer is on trial in federal court this week, accused of two felony counts. Richard Wyrick was caught on tape inside a Denison convenience store last July hitting an elderly man. Wyrick claimed he’d chased the man across state lines, thinking he was a murder suspect. The Colbert city council fired the officer a few days later.

Federal authorities charged him with deprivation of rights and falsifying records. Jury selection began Monday morning and by the afternoon prosecutors were calling witnesses. Attorneys for both sides spent most of the day arguing Murray's character. The defense spoke of past convictions for attempted murder and assault on a police officer. But the prosecution painted a different picture – a frail 67 year old man who appears much older.

Both sides admit there was a high-speed chase that at times reached speeds up to 110 miles per hour across the Denison Dam. The defense is trying to prove that Wyrick thought Murray was someone else - a murder suspect from Arizona in a stolen car. They also claim Murray swung at the officer but it happened off camera. Witnesses inside the store that night refuted that claim.

Wyrick could face up to thirty years behind bars and be forced to pay up to $250,000 in fines. The trial will resume Tuesday at nine.