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Judge denies request by 3 ex-Memphis cops to have separate trials in Tyre Nichols case

Lawyers for Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills and Justin Smith argued that they could not have a fair trial if all five ex-cops faced a jury together


In this image taken from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the city of Memphis, Tenn., Tyre Nichols leans against a car after a brutal attack by five Memphis police officers on Jan. 7, in Memphis.

City of Memphis via AP, File

By Adrian Sainz
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A judge on Monday denied requests by three former Memphis officers to have separate trials in the Tyre Nichols case.

Lawyers for Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills and Justin Smith had filed motions to sever their cases from Demetrius Haley and Emmitt Martin, arguing that they could not receive fair trials if they all face a jury together.

Shelby County Judge James Jones Jr. issued an order Monday denying those requests, saying that severing the cases is not required to protect their rights to a “fair determination” of their guilt or innocence.

All five former members of a Memphis Police Department crime-suppression unit have pleaded not guilty to state charges including second-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.

In addition to the state charges, the five officers were indicted Sept. 13 on federal civil rights charges alleging they used excessive force and lied about the incident. They have pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.