William Woodard, 34, who is accused of killing DeKalb County police officers Eric Barker, 34, and Ricky Bryant Jr., 26, while they were working as off-duty security at the Glenwood Gardens Apartments, recently appeared in court.
During a motion to suppress evidence found at the crime scene, defense attorneys argued that Woodard acted in self defense after he was “snatched” from a car. However, prosecutors said that even if Barker and Bryant were in the wrong when they approached Woodard, it still didn’t give him the right to allegedly open fire.
“No matter what the officers did, he stood over them and shot at them,” District Attorney Robert James said.
According to prosecutors, in 2008 while the officers were working security they approached a vehicle in the apartment parking lot. Woodard then got out of the car and allegedly began shooting. Police said Woodard shot Barker in the head and Bryant in the torso and drove away. However, a tow truck driver found the men and called authorities. One officer died at the scene and the other in the hospital. Both left behind a wife and four children.
It has been a little more than four years since Barker and Bryant were killed and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Woodard. Erik Burton, a spokesman for the DeKalb DA’s Office, said death penalty cases usually take longer to prosecute because of the number of motions and appeals.
“He has changed attorneys multiple times; I know there has been some delay there,” Burton said of Woodard.
“The counsel that he has now is recently appointed counsel so he hasn’t had Dwight Thomas that long…it delays the process if you seek the death penalty.”
A ruling is expected on the motion within the next several weeks and Burton said the trial is set to begin in late August.