An arrest warrant for the former State Army officer, who was charged with murder following a shooting involving an officer, has led defense attorneys for Jacob Thompson and representatives of Julian Lewis’ family to make public statements.
The lawyers handling the civil case for Julian Lewis’ family were the first to speak out and scheduled a Zoom press conference two hours later Thompson’s release on Monday. Attorneys Francys Johnson and today Davis told the media that the Order for Bond signed by Judge Gates Peed would not prevent the Lewis family from seeking justice for Lewis. The family has called on the state of Georgia for an upcoming federal lawsuit seeking $ 12 million for the wrongful death of Julian Lewis if a settlement is not reached in the next three weeks.
Davis said the process as it played out on Monday was relatively normal, noting that Thompson was entitled to deposit a bond under Georgian law. He said he and his colleagues were in the process of investigating similar cases in the judiciary, but the very nature of the case would not prevent them from seeking justice for Lewis, who they believed had been deprived of his human rights.
“The worrying thing is that the family is wondering if the shoe were on the other foot if Julian Lewis were bonded,” said Davis.
During the press conference, Johnson alleged that Thompson was “outside the scope of the law” and that the shooting was “inconsistent with his duties as a soldier”. He praised both the GBI and acting District Attorney Daphne Totten for arresting Thompson quickly in just seven days. Johnson said both were a “result of public outcry” and noted that Thompson’s bailout did not speak to the merits of the case.
Lewis’ son Brook Bacon spoke briefly and said Thompson’s release was “not surprising, but worrying”. He also said the bail release was “inconsistent with justice” and that he believed Thompson should have remained behind bars until his day in court.
The Lewis family attorneys’ testimony on Monday was followed by testimony from defense lawyers late Tuesday.
The comments from Thompson’s attorneys on Tuesday are the first since the case began in early August. His legal team, made up of Duff Ayers, Keith Barber, Sam Dennis and Robert Persse, said in a statement Tuesday evening:
“We really appreciated the opportunity to bring evidence to Jake Thompson during the bond re-examination hearing. Jake Thompson is a highly skilled person and was an exemplary soldier. We are proud of the man he is and who he has proven all his life.
Jake Thompson was justified in his dealings with Mr. Lewis. This case was and is a justified use of force.
We have tremendous empathy and suffering for the Lewis family, and we honor and respect their grief over this loss. However, we must continue to focus on our responsibilities to find the truth and assess the facts of this case. We will do this with respect for everyone involved.
Our efforts to demonstrate this clear act of self-defense are always made with respect and honor for Mr. Lewis and his family. However, we will not respect or honor any attempt by others to convert this into a money case.
We remain confident that Mr. Thompson will be fully cleared of these charges. “
Assistant District Attorneys Barclay Black and Ben Edwards have not commented on the case.
Jessica Szilagyi is a statewide contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She mainly focuses on state and local politics, as well as law enforcement issues. She has a political science background specializing in local government and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica writes “Like It Or Not” for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and “Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers”.