The Marcus Malone death investigation is over as far as the state of Mississippi is concerned.
Manslaughter charges against two Moss Point police officers are being dropped, according to Jackson County District Attorney Keith Miller.
Chris Weeks and Derrick Welton were accused of causing the death of inmate Marcus Malone three years ago. Malone was found dead in his jail cell after being picked up for a traffic violation. Both officers have been on suspension since being indicted last year.
A third officer, reserve patrolman Steve Strickler, was found not guilty of the same charge last week following a six-day trial.
Miller said a combination of things influenced his decision not to prosecute Welton and Weeks.
"I think probably the strongest case I had was against Mr. Strickler. The jury found him not guilty and I don't think the outcome would be any different," Miller said.
Although he objected, Miller says the jury in Strickler's case was allowed to hear an instruction that he says strongly influenced the verdict.
"One of the jury instructions talks about excusable homicide, and basically says that if it was an accident or misfortune, that you have to find the defendant not guilty," Miller said. "Based on that statement, obviously this was not a case of intentional murder, it was a case of culpable negligence or manslaughter, the jury would have the option of finding the defendant not guilty if they thought his death was accidental."
Moss Point Chief Butch Gager told WLOX News that he had mixed emotions concerning the case.
"I'm very happy the charges against the other two officers are being dropped, for them and their families. My thoughts go out to the Malone family but I don't believe my officers did anything wrong," Gager said.
Officer Derrick Welton is out of state and not able to comment. Officer Chris Weeks declined to comment.
We did try to contact the Malone family, but no one returned our phone calls.
Jackson County NAACP Director Curley Clark says he will talk to state NAACP officials to determine if there is a way to get the criminal charges against the two officers heard in federal court.