Eaton’s own statement said Stinnett’s fists were clenched and he was holding something that appeared to be a weapon. Stinnett was not responding to his orders to yield, and that Eaton struck Stinnett three times with a baton. Other law enforcement officers arrived and helped get Stinnett to the ground and eventually handcuffed and transported him. Stinnett, who had been transporting an active methamphetamine lab in the van, later said he was holding a vial during that initial confrontation with Eaton.
True contends that it doesn’t matter whether Stinnett had the knife then, because the allegations against Eaton and the others all centered around what happened – or didn’t – after Stinnett was cuffed.
“[Eaton] thought it was material,” said Judge Julia Smith Gibbons. “He didn’t know the jury was going to acquit him.”
She said according to the U.S. government’s case, Eaton wanted to make it look like Stinnett had the knife out and ready to attack him, and True said again that the issue was what happened afterward, not during the confrontation.
“The government’s theory is that he was beaten after he was cuffed,” True said.
True also points to the various versions of statements and testimony from Runyon and Minor at different times, and said the verdicts are against the weight of the evidence, because they are grounded “solely on the testimony of individuals who have admitted to perjury.”
True touched on a couple of other elements of the appeal having to do with how the jury instructions were worded, and pointed out that the prosecution had made an issue in its comments to the jury twice that the defendant did not testify in his defense.
He was cut off before he was finished by Judge Eric L. Clay, who said he was out of time.