A federal judge unsealed court documents showing a Harnett County deputy’s strategy for fighting a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of a man fatally shot on his porch.
Judge Terrance Boyle made the documents public in response to a request by media outlets, which argued there wasn’t a compelling reason for keeping the information secret. The lawyers representing Harnett County sheriff’s officials argued they were following the law by filing certain investigative documents under seal.
The newly unsealed documents elaborate on the timeline and circumstances surrounding the death of John David Livingston, who was fatally shot on Nov. 15, 2015 by a Harnett County deputy.
The timeline shows how defense attorneys are piecing together information — even from Livingston’s own friends — to argue that the shooting was justified.
The documents include a transcript of a videotaped deposition of Deputy Nicholas Kehagias on Jan. 11.
He says at one point Livingston got hold of a Taser.
“If you pull out a weapon, I’m going to shoot you,” Kehagias recalled saying to Livingston. “At this point, he’s now assaulted me. He’s resisting arrest, and my Tasers have no effect, and he’s now holding something that he doesn’t want to let go of.”
The documents also show the deputy’s Taser went off five times. Kehagias said he showed a state investigator red marks on his abdomen from where he said he was shocked by the Taser.
In addition, they include a toxicology report that shows cocaine and alcohol in Livingston’s system.
Ruth Winecker, chief toxicologist for the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said, “Use and abuse of cocaine is associated with the following impairing effects: euphoria, excitation, tachycardia, hallucinations, and agitation.”
In a timeline of events prepared by attorneys for Kehagias, Livingston’s roommate, Clayton Carroll, said Livingston had the Taser, “but claims that Livingston did not actually have control of the Taser.
Kehagias resigned from the sheriff’s office several months after the incident. He did not face criminal charges.
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