Grand Jury Result - Sayles Shooting (Press Release)

by Police Administration, Thursday, February 17, 2011, 01:00 (3257 days ago)

On Thursday, February 17, 2011, a Grand Jury panel reviewed the investigation of the Sayles Shooting that was conducted by the Abilene Police Department. Sgt. Lynn Beard of the Crimes Against Persons Unit presented the case to the panel. I am sensitive to the issues debated in our local media by some of our citizens, but it is important to note that criminal cases must never be tried in the media. All citizens are afforded due process by the Constitution, and the Abilene Police Department has worked diligently and quickly to present a factual and thorough investigation to the Grand Jury while not releasing key details that could have tainted an otherwise impartial panel.

The Grand Jury has returned a true-bill decision regarding the Sayles shooting. Simply stated, the defendant in this case was indicted. There is a delicate balance between protecting the freedom of our citizens while also making arrest decisions that restrict those freedoms. The complexity of this investigation warranted an impartial review of the facts before deciding on an arrest. Since this is an active investigation, the police department cannot offer any further communication regarding this incident. Secondly, we do not want to offer any additional comments out of respect for the family of the deceased and the pending burial of their loved one. The unexpected loss of life is always a tragedy.

Some have speculated that the family of the defendant influenced our decision not to arrest Christopher North. I can say with absolute sincerity that family connections were never considered. Additionally, it was important to me as the Chief of Police that this case be presented to a Grand Jury in a timely manner since this shooting incident has polarized many of our citizens. I appreciate the Taylor County District Attorney, James Eidson, for moving quickly on this difficult investigation.

This tragic event does not represent the heart of our community. The men and women of the Abilene Police Department call Abilene home, and they will continue to proudly serve those they protect.


Stan Standridge
Chief of Police

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