published : 2023-11-29

Maryland Officer on Trial for Fatal Shooting of Handcuffed Man

Prince George's County Officer Michael Owen Jr. faces second-degree murder charges in William Green's death

A photo of Prince George's County Officer Michael Owen Jr., the defendant in the trial

A Maryland jury is set to determine whether a Prince George's County police officer should be held accountable for the fatal shooting of a handcuffed man in 2020.

Officer Michael Owen Jr., who served on the police force for a decade, made history as the first officer in the county to be charged with murder in an on-duty killing.

The trial began with prosecutors and the defense agreeing on certain basic facts, such as Owen fatally shooting William Green, 43, while the handcuffed man was seated in the front of the officer's police cruiser.

However, the two sides are disputing other aspects of the case, including whether there was a struggle prior to the shooting and whether Owen acted in self-defense.

A photo of William Green, the handcuffed man who was fatally shot

Several months after Green's death, the county reached a $20 million settlement with his family.

Prince George's County, home to almost 1 million residents, boasts one of Maryland's largest law-enforcement agencies with over 1,500 officers serving the Washington, D.C. suburbs.

Prosecutor Joel Patterson assured jurors that they would hear from three witnesses, including another responding officer, who did not witness any commotion or verbal dispute before Owen fired seven shots, ultimately hitting Green six times.

In defense, Owen's lead attorney argued that the shooting was an act of self-defense, citing evidence of damage to the inside of the officer's vehicle and the testimony of another officer who claimed Owen told him that Green had reached for his gun.

A photo of the Prince George's County courthouse where the trial is taking place

The defense also raised concerns about inconsistencies in the initial police investigation and questioned how Owen could be charged with murder when key pieces of evidence were in conflict.

The trial is expected to continue as the jury deliberates the fate of officer Michael Owen Jr.