The former Jackson police officer convicted last year of lying about being shot by a black man while on patrol in 2016 is asking a judge to reduce her prison sentence and grant a new trial.
Sherry Hall was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by 23 years on probation after a Monroe County jury found her guilty of each charge in a 10-count indictment. The trial was moved out of Butts County at the request of Hall’s trial attorney.
Hall, a former Jackson Police Department officer, reported being shot and returning fire Sept. 13, 2016, while patrolling Camellia Court around midnight. The incident initially sparked a manhunt focused on finding the shooter — reportedly described by Hall as a black man in a green shirt — but the focus of the investigation turned to Hall herself when “it was revealed that inconsistencies existed with regard to Hall’s statements, witness statements, physical evidence and later examination of forensic evidence,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement at the time.
The GBI was asked to investigate the incident, which is routine in officer-involved shootings.
Warrants for Hall’s arrest were filed 10 days after the incident and she was fired from the Jackson Police Department. She was indicted by a grand jury in July 2017 on 11 charges: four counts of making false statements, four counts of violation of oath, two counts of interference with government property and one count of tampering with evidence.
Before the trial began in Forsyth, prosecutors dropped one of the charges in the indictment, a count of interference with government property based on damage caused to a ballistic vest by a bullet. The jury found Hall guilty of each of the remaining counts in the indictment, including the second count of interference with government property, which contained an allegation she damaged a department-issued pistol she lied to investigators about having.
The charge of tampering with evidence stemmed from an allegation she planted a shell casing at the scene of the shooting fired from the weapon she lied about having.
Prosecutors argued Hall willingly cooperated with investigators, sitting for interviews and re-enacting the events of the shooting, until she was told they had recovered audio and video from her patrol car camera that she didn’t know was recording.
In a motion to modify Hall’s sentence, her attorney Jordan K. Van Matre of McDonough, argues the 15-year sentence “amounts to a ‘trial tax’ prohibited by the Constitution ...” The motion for a new trial argues, among other points, that Hall’s trial attorney was “ineffective” and “The weight of the evidence was not sufficient for a rational trier of fact to return a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Van Matre on Tuesday declined to disclose the specific sentence modification being sought.
Hall’s case is scheduled to be before Judge Thomas H. Wilson in Butts County Superior Court July 31.