Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis announced today that a Collin County Grand Jury has no-billed eight former detention officers involved in the in-custody death of Marvin Scott III.
This decision means that the Grand Jury has cleared the eight former officers of any criminal wrongdoing and they won't be charged with any state criminal offense. The Collin County Medical Examiner had previously determined the cause of death for Mr. Scott as "fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement." Earlier today, the family of Mr. Scott was notified of the Grand Jury's decision.
The Grand Jury spent multiple days carefully considering all the evidence and the law—hearing from many witnesses and viewing a videotape of the incident before coming to this decision.
"This case is a tragedy for all involved, first and foremost for the family and friends of Mr. Scott. For a parent to lose a child, including an adult child, is a loss that's profound, permanent, and unfixable. I ask everyone to join me in sending the Scott family prayers of comfort, solace, and strength," said Willis.
The Grand Jury no-billed former detention officers Blaise Mikulewicz, Austin Wong, Justin Patrick, Rafael Paredez, James Schoelen, Alec Difatta, Andres Cardenas, and Christopher Windsor.
In addition to the no-bills, the Grand Jury issued a statement about the incident recommending a county-wide working group be convened to study and "find the best solutions for the treatment of individuals with mental illness who come into contact with the criminal justice system." A complete copy of that statement is posted below.
"I too share the Grand Jury's concern for the treatment of individuals suffering from mental illness, and I pledge to honor Mr. Scott by taking the lead in assembling a working group to look for lessons learned so that his tragic in-custody death will not have been in vain," said Willis.
Willis went on to say, "I know there are members of our community who have strong feelings about this case and the Grand Jury's decision. To everyone in Collin County, I say please be respectful of each other's dignity, and please be respectful of our laws. We all have a God-given right to peaceably assemble and be heard, but remember that our laws must be followed and they will be enforced."
Willis thanked the Texas Rangers for their thorough and independent investigation, and thanked First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wirskye for leading a fair and complete presentation of the case to the Grand Jury.
The District Attorney's Office will have no further statement, in accordance with the laws designed to protect the integrity of the Grand Jury process.
STATEMENT OF THE COLLIN COUNTY GRAND JURY REGARDING THE IN-CUSTODY DEATH OF MARVIN SCOTT III:
"We, the Grand Jury of Collin County, Texas, wish to make a statement and give our recommendations regarding the in-custody death of Marvin Scott III:
After careful consideration of the applicable law and all the relevant facts, we find that no probable cause exists to charge any person with a criminal offense related to the death of Mr. Scott. Accordingly, we have issued a no-bill for each of the eight detention officers involved.
This case was a tragedy foremost for Mr. Scott and his family, but also for his friends and our entire community. We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Mr. Scott for the terrible loss you have suffered. We hope you can someday find peace.
We sincerely hope that the loss of Marvin Scott III will not be in vain. We are therefore recommending that a work group be convened as soon as practicable to study the events of March 14th for lessons learned in an effort to avoid any similar future tragedy.
We recommend that this work group consist of a diverse group of Collin County community leaders, criminal justice and law enforcement stakeholders, local hospitals, and mental health providers.
The goal of this work group should be finding the best solutions for the treatment of individuals with mental illness who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
To our fellow Collin County citizens, we ask you to respect each other, and to respect each other's rights and opinions, and we hope any vigils, demonstrations, or protests remain peaceful.
Because we are bound by our oath to respect the laws mandating Grand Jury secrecy, we will have no further statements either collectively or individually. We ask everyone to respect our privacy and the oath we took."