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Jury acquits ex-Omaha officer in death after repeated stuns

December 11, 2018 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A jury has acquitted a former Omaha police officer charged after the death of a mentally ill man who was shocked a dozen times with a stun gun.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that jurors on Monday found 39-year-old Scotty Payne not guilty of second-degree assault and use of a weapon in the June 5, 2017, death of 29-year-old Zachary Bearheels. Jurors deliberated about seven hours after a two-week trial.


Payne was among officers called to an Omaha convenience store that Bearheels had refused to leave. Bearheels had been wandering Omaha streets after being kicked off a bus headed to Oklahoma.

Payne shocked Bearheels 12 times and could be heard on cruiser camera video asking if he wanted another shock.

An autopsy determined Bearheels didn’t die directly from the shocks but from excited delirium.