Posted: Oct 10, 2010 5:50 PM by Chris Welty
Updated: Oct 10, 2010 5:51 PM
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Jury selection in the trial of a former
Winnfield police officer accused of killing a handcuffed prisoner
by repeatedly shocking him with a stun gun is set to begin on
Scott Nugent faces manslaughter and malfeasance in office
charges in the death of 21-year-old Baron Pikes.
Pikes was shocked nine times with a 50,000-volt stun gun as he
was arrested on a drug possession warrant in January 2008.
The parish's coroner, Dr. Randolph Williams, ruled that Pikes'
death was a homicide. Williams said he consulted with two other
coroners, and both agreed that Pikes died of cardiac arrest caused
by the Taser shocks. He said Pikes was already dead during the
final two shocks to his body.
Anger over Pikes' death has threatened to inflame racial
tensions in Winnfield, where the population of roughly 5,800 is
evenly divided between black and white residents. Pikes was black;
Nugent is white.
Meanwhile, the mother of Pikes' 4-year-old son has filed a
wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against city officials and
Nugent faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the
manslaughter charge. The malfeasance charge carries a maximum
sentence of five years in prison.
Nugent was fired but is appealing his dismissal.