Grand Jury Clears Deputy In Shooting

A Harrison County Grand Jury says a sheriff's deputy was justified in using lethal force to kill a man two weeks ago.

On Jan. 4, Deputy Justin Powell responded to a call on Georgette Lane in D'Iberville. Witnesses say when Powell arrived, Donald Roberson threatened to kill him, and began hitting the deputy. Powell sprayed Roberson with pepper spray, but witnesses say Roberson kept hitting Powell. Powell shot Roberson five times.

Roberson was on leave from his job with the Navy in Tennessee, and investigators don't know why he was on the coast. The grand jury ruled Thursday that Powell committed no crime and that his actions complied with the sheriff's department's lethal force policy.

After hearing the grand jury's decision, Sheriff George Payne said "The report speaks for itself.  Deputy Powell had no choice but to use lethal force to protect his life and the lives of other people in the area."

Powell has been on administrative leave with pay since the shooting. Sheriff Payne says Powell will return to work in a few days.