The former Georgia State Patrol trooper who fatally shot a 60-year-old Black man in the head won’t be getting out of jail anytime soon. On Friday (Sept. 3), Screven County Judge F. Gates Peed denied bond for Jacob Gordon Thompson.
On Aug. 7, Thompson said he attempted to pull over Julian Lewis for a broken taillight. When Lewis refused to stop, the ex-trooper chased him until Lewis’ vehicle ended up in a ditch.
One week later, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Thompson for felony murder and aggravated assault.
The judge ruled that it “would be inappropriate” to grant Thompson a bond because of the facts in the case, according to ABC News. Consequently, Thompson will remain in a county jail.
Attorney Francys Johnson, who is representing the Lewis family, praised the judge’s decision and the swift action of the investigators.
“The unprecedented pace of the investigation is a direct result of years of activism on these issues along with a sea-change in law enforcement leadership at the top of the GBI,” Johnson stated. “This case is not proceeding as business as usual.”
While Lewis’ car was in the ditch, Thompson claimed in his incident report that he heard the engine revving and saw Lewis’ hands on the steering wheel, supposedly getting ready to drive out of the ditch and toward the ex-trooper. Thompson said he feared for his life and shot once at Lewis.
This incident happened against the backdrop of widespread protest against the slow pace of Georgia authorities to arrest father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael for the February 23 shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was unarmed.
The arrests came months later, only after a video of the shooting became public and there were demonstrations calling the arrests.
Photo of Thompson via Georgia Department of Public Safety & Photo of Lewis courtesy of Lewis Family Attorney Francys Johnson