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Decatur police officer enters not guilty plea in Perkins’ murder

DECATUR – Mac Bailey Marquette, the former Decatur police officer who was charged with murder in the shooting death of city resident Stephen Perkins, has pleaded not guilty and waived his right to arraignment set for next month.

Mac Bailey Marquette (Marshall County Sheriff’s Department/Facebook)

The incident last September brought protests and outrage against Decatur police and Mayor Tab Bowling because some residents claimed transparency was lacking and an ensuing investigation was moving too slowly.

Initial police reports proved to be inaccurate and, after a department investigation Bowling fired three officers including Marquette and suspended one. The Morgan County District Attorney office turned the case over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and charged the officer when it received findings.

Marquette lawyer Liz Young of Birmingham did her client acted in self defense and did no wrong.

Protests drew crowds and plenty of media attention, but only a handful of residents showed outside of city hall Thursday night when Marquette surrendered. There have been calls within the community for Bowling to resign.

Perkins was fatally shot in his own yard in the early morning hours last September when the police arrived to settle a dispute over an attempted vehicle repossession. The police said they were there because Perkins threatened a tow truck driver over with a gun and later turned a gun on an officer.

An initial police report said Perkins refused to comply when the police asked him to drop the weapon. Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion later apologized, saying the initial report mischaracterized what happened and that it was wrong to say Perkins refused to drop his gun.

Nick Perkins, brother of the deceased man, said he’d seen body camera video from the incident, but couldn’t comment. A report by WAAY-TV said he has been working with state Sen. Maricka Coleman on a new body camera bill in the Legislature.

“It would actually allow families to view body cam footage within 30 days of an event happening, and it would actually make body cam footage public record instead of a record of a private entity,” Nick Perkins said in the report.”

“The community has lost trust with the mayor and the police chief of this city. You know the basis of a good foundation with leadership is trust, and if you have no trust, you have no leadership.”

The Morgan County Sheriff’s office said Marquette turned himself in and was taken into custody by Sheriff Ron Puckett. He was booked on a grand jury warrant for murder and bonded out on $30,000 bail.

Marquette was hired conditionally Sept. 24, 2020. He was certified by the Police Officers Standards and Training Commission in April 2021.

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