Not guilty verdict in Springfield murder trial

A Springfield man charged in the summer shooting death of another man was found not guilty by a jury.

Jerome Palmer Jr., 35, of Springfield, was arrested last July after William “Billy” Haney was found shot to death in the yard of his Sturgeon Street home, according to a Springfield Police Division report.

Palmer was later indicted by a grand jury on charges of aggravated murder, felony murder and improper use of a handgun in a motor vehicle.

After a day of trial and less than two hours of deliberation, a jury returned not guilty verdicts on all of the charges, according to court records.

“I miss him every day,” said Anthony Haney about his brother, Billy.

Palmer’s trial began in a Clark County Common Pleas courtroom Tuesday morning. A jury was seated and, following an afternoon break, Palmer was being led into the courtroom by a deputy when Anthony Haney jumped from his seat and lunged at the man.

“That’s the first time I saw him, and my anger got the better half of me, and I tried to hit him,” Anthony Haney said Wednesday after he appeared in a Clark County Municipal Court for his own arraignment.

Anthony Haney was charged with assault and disorderly conduct for the courtroom attack. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to court records.

There are 11 members of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office that serve in the common pleas and municipal courthouses, said Sgt. David Burch, who is in charge.

“The citizens in the courtroom, the judge, the defendant — everybody in that courtroom — you have to make sure they’re all safe,” Burch said.

Tension in the courtroom between defendants and their families and the families of victims can be heated, he said.

“There’s a lot of emotions on both sides of the family, both sides of the fence … and at some point it can boil over,” Burch said.

A metal detector at the entrances to the court buildings and security cameras are some of the tools deputies have at their disposal.

It is not every day deputies have to stop an active threat at the courthouse, Burch said, but he believes his team is prepared.

“I’m confident in all of them that they’re always ready and they know what could happen,” Burch said.

Anthony Haney was not allowed back at the common pleas court to hear the verdict in his brother’s murder case.

Although Palmer was not found guilty in trial, Anthony Haney said he has a message for the man he believes killed his brother.

“I just want the dude to feel sorry for what he did,” he said. “Jail is jail, but as long as you feel sorry every day, it’s cool.”

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