Former Wilson police officers found guilty of 2nd degree murder
WILSON, Okla., (KXII) - After deliberating for over five hours, jurors in the trial of two former Wilson police officers charged with murder in Jared Lakey’s death ended on Friday evening.
The jury says Brandon Dingman and Joshua Taylor are guilty of murdering Jared Lakey and recommended a sentence of 10 years in prison.
After the decision was made, they were taken into custody of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.
The Wilson man was tased 53 times by the officers when they tried to restrain him two years ago.
The trial began on Tuesday, where jurors heard from five witnesses, including Oklahoma’s Chief Medical Examiner and a Carter County Deputy who was there that night.
The tasings themselves happened on July 4th of 2019 when officers Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingham responded to a call about a naked man screaming and running down the street.
Officers tried to restrain him but he didn’t obey their commands.
They began tasing him but after nearly 4 minutes of tasing, it still wasn’t working.
Backup arrived and Carter County deputy David Duggan stepped in and put Lakey to sleep with a neck restraint.
The defense is arguing that this neck restraint is ultimately what lead to Lakey’s fatal heart attack 30 hours later, not the tasing.
Jurors also heard testimony from Oklahoma’s chief medical examiner, who performed Lakey’s autopsy himself.
According to his testimony, Lakey’s official cause of death was attributed to a few things-his heart health and law enforcement’s use of electrical weapons and restraint.
He said that because an IV was put in Lakey’s neck at the hospital, he can’t determine if the neck restraint was a significant cause in Lakey’s death.
Duggan said it was less than 5 seconds before Lakey passed out and he stopped applying pressure.
The state showed jurors dash and body cam footage from the night Lakey was tased two summers ago.
The medical examiner said it’s not unusual for a man with Lakey’s heart condition to have a heart attack.
But he did say the stress of the tasing was a substantial factor in the fatal heart attack.
On Wednesday, prosecutors heard the testimony of a couple who called 911 when they saw the incident happen, and stuck around for a few minutes, watching the scene unfold.
They said they saw Lakey failing to cooperate with officers Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingam after several minutes of talking.
KXII can’t show that because the body cam wasn’t turned on yet.
Neither neighbor heard Lakey threaten the officers, but they did hear him scream.
A witness said he wasn’t sure if it was out of pain or if it was a continuation of the screaming from when Lakey had run down the street earlier.
Wilson Police Chief Kevin Coley also testified on Wednesday.
He said when a crackling sound comes from a taser, it actually means one of the tasers isn’t making contact with the victim.
But there were two tasers on Lakey that night.
The courtroom heard a lot about Neuro Muscular Incapacitation-when the electricity from the taser causes a victim’s muscles to freeze up.
Coley said when they tase someone, officers are hoping that NMI will kick in and the arrest subject’s muscles will be frozen so officers can safely handcuff him.
He said it didn’t work in Lakey’s case-he kept moving around on the ground, which is why the officers called for backup and kept tazing.
Ladd pointed out that taser training tells users to avoid more than one taser on a person at once, and the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training tells officers if it’s not working, to move on to other options.
While jurors watched the body cam footage, Coley described Lakey’s actions on the ground as actively resisting.
Ladd argued that it could have been Lakey trying to comply while also fighting the stunning effect the taser had on his muscles.
Moments after the verdict was handed down, DA Criag Ladd expressed how pleased the family of Lakey were.
“On behalf of the Lakey family, they were very pleased with today’s proceedings, with the verdicts and they wanted me to tell the jury they’re very appreciative. They’ve been waiting about two and half years for this,” he said.
The jury recommended a ten year sentence for Taylor and Dingman after finding him guilty Friday night.
The judge said the plan is subject to change, but Dingman and Taylor are to be formally sentenced in early December.
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