BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Jeff Awtrey - email
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches grand jury in June returned a no-bill verdict against a Hemphill man charged with murdering a Nacogdoches man.
Assistant District Attorney Lee Westmoreland said it was apparent after a bond hearing in mid-June that Gerald Thomas, 49, had acted in self-defense in the May shooting death of Tore Ratliff, 28.
Westmoreland said the DA's office presented the evidence to the grand jury on June 28, who opted to not indict Thomas.
"I'm gratified that the system works like it was intended," Westmoreland said. "Law enforcement has to take a look at it and the community, through the grand jury, made a decision whether this was a criminal offense at the time."
"Mr. Thomas is extremely grateful to all of his family and friends who steadfastly supported him during this very difficult time," Thomas' attorney, Raphaell Wilkins, stated in an e-mail. "Both he and I are also thankful for the superb professionalism shown by Nacogdoches County Assistant District Attorney, Lee Westmoreland, who was tasked with handling the case against Mr. Thomas on behalf of the Nacoedoches District Attorney's office."