West Memphis officers indicted on wreckless homicide charges will not stand trial - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

West Memphis officers indicted on wreckless homicide charges will not stand trial

The announcement from Judge Fred Axley signaled things were over before they even got started.

"Therefore, the court hear by orders the district attorney to place the defendants on pretrial diversion," he said.

It meant that West Memphis Police officers Vance Plumoff, John Gardner, and Troy Galtelli will not face a Shelby County jury, even though the trio was indicted for reckless homicide.

Axley's decision brought instant relief to the officers, who hugged West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert.

"It's been a long hard 18 months, and we're happy that this part is over with," Paudert said.

It all started on July 17, 2004. A traffic stop near the MLK exit on I-40 in Arkansas led to a police chase across state lines into Memphis. During the pursuit, two West Memphis squad cars were rammed.

The chase came to a halt after the suspects car crashed into a house at the corner of Jackson and Manassas. The driver of the car, Donald Rickard, and passenger Kelly Anne Allen, both of Memphis, were killed after officers fired several shots.

Neither Rickard or Allen had a gun.

For now, the three officers, who have been on desk duty for the past several months, no longer have criminal charges hanging over their heads.

"We're happy with the ruling of course, we'll just have to see if the prosecution will appeal the ruling or not," Plumoff said.

An appeal is an option the district attorney will consider. A decision on appeal is expected to happen early next week.

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