Man accused of killing DeKalb officers testifies - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Man accused of killing DeKalb officers testifies in court

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William Woodard is accused of gunning down DeKalb County police officers Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant Jr. in 2008. William Woodard is accused of gunning down DeKalb County police officers Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant Jr. in 2008.
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

William Woodard took the stand in his own murder trial on Monday afternoon, testifying that he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed two DeKalb County police officers in 2008.  Prosecutors say Woodard gunned down Officer Eric Barker and Officer Ricky Bryant, Jr. while they were working off-duty security jobs at an apartment complex.

On the stand, Woodard told the court he was a victim of excessive force.  He acknowledged that he was carrying a gun on night of the shootings, after having a series of previous drug convictions.  He also admitted trying to pass a counterfeit $50 bill that night.  Otherwise, however, he described himself as a victim of the officers.

"I received several injuries as far as being hit with something metal...a baton.  That's what I was being hit with," said Woodard.

Woodard testified that the two officers pulled him out of the car, struck him, and dragged him to the ground.  He said he heard shots, and he panicked.  Woodard also expressed remorse to the officers' family members, saying he never intended to kill them.

"I want to clear up and say sorry to the Barker family and the Bryant family, and  I know how they feel about their loved one and, in a way, I understand and feel their pain. But at the same time, this matter happened in a self-defense manner," said Woodard.

Prosecutors rested their case on Thursday after four days of testimony. They allege that Woodard gunned the two down because, as a convicted felon, he didn't want to go back to jail. On the stand, Woodard disputed that account.

"I never said I wasn't going back to jail or I'm gonna hold court in the street or nothing like that," said Woodard.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Woodard.

The defense's first witness on Monday was DeKalb County Police Chief William O'Brien. He was asked about the police department's employee manual, which contains rules about off-duty officers and use of force policies.

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