It's been 11 weeks since the shootout at the Grand Manor Apartments between Tyler Police and Terence Raibon. Tonight, in the minds of the Smith County Grand Jury, the case is closed. In September, the grand jury cleared Tyler officers Josh Green, Philip Johnson and Mike Saxion in the shooting death of Raibon, noting that a fourth officer, Billy Yates, never fired his weapon. A month later, two new witnesses surfaced while the testimony of a third was heard by the jury for the first time. October 2, these new witnesses told jurors a story very different than other witnesses told. Tawakoni Jones identifed Yates as the only officer to shoot Raibon, accusing Yates of shooting Raibon in the back, kicking him in the head and handcuffing him, all while Raibon was lying on the ground. Lakendrick Williams identified Saxion as the officer who fired all the shots, including the shot to the back. While, Terrence Black identified Yates as the first officer to shoot Raibon, with Saxion shooting him in the back. Today, the grand jury heard additional testimony from Lesly Gatheright, the man responsible for bringing Jones and Black forward. In the end, the grand jury didn't believe them. They once again returned "no bills" against all four officers.
District Attorney Jack Skeen said in a statment tonight, "the grand jury found that each of these officers were justified in using deadly force against Terence Raibon to protect themselves and their fellow officers..."
Playing big in their decision was testimony given by Wade Thomas with the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab.
Skeen says "firearms and ballistics testing...on bullets removed from terence raibon proved none of the bullets were fired by Mike Saxion or Billy Yates."
The grand jury concluded no criminal statute was violated with the use of deadly force against Terence Raibon.
The Raibon family's consultant, Lesly Gatheright, responded to the grand jury decision tonight, saying in a statement... "justice delayed is not justice denied. This is not indicative to the kind of justice that america knows. By virtue of the FBI and Justice Department's investigation, justice will prevail and the truth will come out."
Gatheright raises the possibility of Justice Department involvement. And, if anything else happens with this case, that would probably be the avenue taken. The FBI has been collecting facts on the shooting, independent of the Smith County Grand Jury. The results of their investigation will be sent to the Justice Department's "civil rights division."