Trial begins in Giles Co. for Narrows officer charged with involuntary manslaughter
GILES COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The trial for Narrows Police Officer Chad Stilley was set to begin Monday morning at 9, but opening statements did not start until after 3 p.m. Jury selection took nearly five hours at the Giles Wellness center, more than three miles from the courthouse.
One hundred potential jurors were questioned on whether they knew Stilley, the deceased, Michael Acord, or any of the 20 witnesses set to testify in the trial, which was originally set for three days, but will now take five days, according to Judge Lee Harrell.
During opening statements, Chris Rehak, Radford’s Commonwealth’s attorney and prosecuting attorney in the case, began by talking about the definition of a roadblock. Rehak described how on July 24, 2020, 28-year-old Michael Acord was driving his 2020 Harley-Davidson FXS at high speeds, which got the attention of Officer Vincent with the Pearisburg Police Department.
Rehak continued to describe the chase that ensued, before showing a clip of the chase from dash cam footage. According to Rehak, Acord was traveling up to 103 MPH in a 40 MPH speed limit zone.
“This was unnecessary, this was grossly disproportionate. We had a speeder on a motorcycle, who didn’t stop. He’s dead,” said Rehak.
“Officer Chad Stilley put his life on the line. He knows that motorcycle is going 103 and he’s gonna say that motorcycle was coming straight at me, until he goosed it and put it in front,” said Chris Tuck, Stilley’s attorney, during his opening statement.
Tuck added Stilley, who could face up to 11 years behind bars, was protecting the citizens of Narrows, and spoke about Stilley’s upbringing and character.
Less than two hours were spent inside the courtroom Monday, but Rehak was able to get through questioning of his first witness, Dee Acord, Michael’s mother. He asked her to describe her son, and how she found out he had passed away.
The second witness to testify was Officer Vincent with the Pearisburg Police Department, who tried to pull Acord over for speed. He was asked several questions about policy before Judge Harrell adjourned court for the day.
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