Lela Garlington The Commercial Appeal January 22, 2001, Monday, Final Edition Copyright 2001 The Commercial Appeal The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) January 22, 2001, Monday, Final Edition
(MILLINGTON, Tenn.) -- A Mississippi deputy sheriff was justified when he shot and killed a sailor who was stationed at Millington, a Mississippi grand jury has found.
Donald R. Roberson Jr., 33, of Millington died Jan. 4 in D'Iberville, Miss., a short distance outside Biloxi after a deputy fired five shots at him in self-defense.
Harrison County Dist. Atty. Cono Caranna released the grand jury's findings and gave a brief summary of them.
Harrison County Deputy Glen Powell was placed on administrative leave before the grand jury released its findings late last week.
Powell drove to D'Iberville after a 911 caller reported a female taxi cab driver who lived in the neighborhood was assaulted.
Based on eyewitness accounts, the grand jury said Powell attempted to question Roberson when Roberson threatened his life.
"Mr. Roberson then attempted to enter Deputy Powell's vehicle, where a loaded weapon was kept, and a struggle ensued," the grand jury said.
Although Powell used pepper spray on Roberson, the grand jury said, Roberson continued attacking the deputy.
"Deputy Powell attempted to retreat but was being overpowered by Mr. Roberson and had no choice but to use lethal force in order to protect his life and the lives of others in the area," the grand jury concluded, adding that "his actions were in compliance with the lethal force policy of that agency."
The deputy found Roberson standing in the road, his truck stuck in the mud, and when he told Roberson to put his hands on the patrol car, Roberson told him, "I'm gonna kill you,'' Caranna said, quoting the officer and witnesses.
Roberson, a chief petty officer, worked for the Navy Recruiting Command. He had been stationed in Millington since April 1999.