By Scott North Herald Writer
EVERETT — An Everett police officer apparently will go on trial next month charged with murder in connection with a fatal June shooting outside an Everett restaurant.
Officer Troy Meade is now charged with first-degree manslaughter.
Last week, Snohomish County prosecutors sent paperwork to Meade’s attorney indicating they plan Thursday to file a more serious second-degree murder charge against Meade.
“I was surprised and also disappointed,” Meade’s lawyer, Seattle defense attorney David Allen, said Monday.
Prosecutors in October alleged that Meade, 41 committed a crime June 10 when he shot Niles Meservey while the Stanwood man was sitting in his car outside the Chuckwagon Inn.
Meservey, 51, was belligerent, drunk and refused to get out of his car, court papers show. He died after being struck from behind by seven bullets Meade fired into the vehicle.
An 11-year police veteran, Meade declined to speak to investigators. He’s pleaded not guilty, and in court papers indicates he’ll maintain the shooting was in self defense.
Meade’s case is the first time a local police officer has been charged in a line-of-duty killing.
Joan Cavagnaro, the county’s chief criminal deputy prosecutor, on Monday confirmed that prosecutors have scheduled court time Thursday to amend charges against Meade. She declined to provide details, however, keeping to her office’s practice of not discussing charging decisions outside the courtroom.
Thursday’s hearing already includes time for lawyers to argue about the evidence that will be allowed at Meade’s trial, which is now scheduled to begin April 9. He remains on paid administrative leave from the 200-officer department.
The manslaughter charge alleges Meade recklessly caused Meservey’s death. To prove second-degree murder, prosecutors would have to show he acted with intent to kill but something less than premeditation.
Investigators say Meade was summoned to the restaurant after a 911 call reporting that a drunken Meservey was about to drive way. Meade found the man sitting in his car. Meservey refused to get out from behind the wheel. Meade twice used an electric stun gun in an effort to subdue him.
After Meservey drove his Chevrolet Corvette into a chain-link fence, Meade fired his handgun eight times through the car’s back window.
A special team of homicide investigators used computer analysis of the scene to pinpoint where Meade and others were when the gunfire began. They also interviewed dozens of people, including another Everett police officer who witnessed the shooting.
That officer told investigators that Meservey wasn’t obeying orders but didn’t pose an immediate lethal threat to Meade or anyone else. That officer also said Meade said something like “Time to end this; enough is enough,” just before opening fire.
In court papers, Allen said Meade “submits that his actions were necessary and reasonable and that he was in imminent danger at the time that he acted in self-defense to protect himself from an assault.”
Meservey’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city of Everett, questioning the training Meade received from the police department. The lawsuit follows a $15 million wrongful death claim filed by the family.
Seattle attorney Paul Luvera, who is representing Meservey’s family in the lawsuit, said he wanted to learn more about the amended charge for Meade before offering comment.
Jackson Holtz contributed to this report. Scott North: 425-339-3431, email@example.com