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Court docs: PGPD officer killed handcuffed man in police cruiser

Cpl. Michael Owen Jr. was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and weapon-related charges. He was denied bond after a hearing Wednesday.

TEMPLE HILLS, Md. — A Prince George's County police officer is accused of killing a handcuffed man in the front seat of a police cruiser in Temple Hills, Maryland.

Charging documents released Wednesday show a more detailed timeline of the encounter between PGPD Cpl. Michael Owen Jr., 31, and the shooting victim, 42-year-old William Green.

Police said on Tuesday that they received a 911 call reporting a driver who had struck multiple cars along St. Barnabas Road and ending at Winston Street.

In court Wednesday, prosecutor Renee Joy said there were two witnesses -- a citizen/bystander, and a responding second officer, identified as "Witness 2," in charging documents. Neither witnesses were identified by name in the charging documents or in court.

It's unclear if the bystander called police, but Joy said in court Wednesday that the bystander blocked in Green's car while waiting for police to arrive.

Owen and the other officer, "Witness 2," walked up to Green's car and noticed that he was asleep, charging documents said. 

RELATED: Prince George's County police officer charged with murder in fatal shooting of handcuffed man

Green was then taken out of his car and, "appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance," court documents read. While police originally reported Tuesday that Green appeared to be under the influence of PCP, they have since ruled it out as a factor. 

Credit: Prince George's County States Attorney's Office

RELATED: Prince George's County police officer charged with murder in fatal shooting of handcuffed man

Owen then placed Green in handcuffs and put him in the front passenger seat of his police car, according to charging documents. This is a part of Prince George's County Police Department's policy

According to the PGPD's general orders -- a set of directives and operational procedures -- officers are told to transport a person who is arrested in the "right front seat" if there is no rear partition separating the arrestee and the officer. 

RELATED: Here's why police say William Green was put in the front seat of a police cruiser before he was killed

About 5-10 minutes later, "Witness 2" -- the second officer -- "heard gunshots and when he went to (Owen's) vehicle he observed (Green) still seated and handcuffed behind his back, in the passenger's seat suffering from multiple gunshot wounds," court documents state.

Owen fired his gun seven times, hitting Green multiple times, according to court documents.

Responding officers arrived at the scene around 7:19 p.m. and found Green lying next to the police cruiser with gunshot wounds. A Prince George's police spokesperson said officers tried life-saving measures on Green.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, Green was still in handcuffs when he was taken from the police car. Paramedics and officers took off the handcuffs from behind his back and took him to the United Medical Center, where he died.

Charging documents said police searched Green's vehicle and Owen's police cruiser and found no weapons. They were unable to find any evidence indicating that there was a fight that ensued between the two.

During a news conference on Wednesday, PGPD Police Chief Hank Stawinski said they had no witnesses that saw a struggle between the officer and shooting victim. They said it still remains unclear if Green wore a seatbelt when he was in the front seat of the cruiser.

Owen was placed on administrative leave Monday evening and taken into custody late Tuesday afternoon. The incident was not caught on a body camera, as Owen was not wearing one, according to police.

RELATED: All Prince George’s County police officers to get body cameras, 6 years after original proposal, officials say

Owen was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and weapon-related charges. Court documents said that Owen, "Did feloniously, without malice aforethought, kill and slay William Green."

He was denied bond during a hearing on Wednesday. Prince George’s County District Court Judge called him  "a threat to public safety" citing accusations that Owen fired seven times at the victim.

The victim was "absolutely no threat to (Owen)," Joy told the judge on Wednesday.

Joy said Owen should not be released into supervised home detention because the suspended officer shares a home with another active-duty officer and guns are present in the home.

Green’s family gasped and gave muted claps in the courtroom as the judge made his ruling.

"Thank God!" one family member blurted out.

According to The Washington Post, Owen fatally shot 35-year-old Rodney Edwards, who was accused of pointing a loaded revolver at Owen in December 2011. Owen was also involved in a 2009 shooting when someone tried to rob him outside his home while he was off duty, the Post said. 

Owen was not charged in either incident. After the bond hearing, a prosecutor said they will review the 2011 shooting at the request of Edward's family.

With the department for 10 years, Owen was assigned to the Bureau of Patrol, police said. He also worked in the Prince George's Public Information Office in 2015.

RELATED: Officer charged with killing William Green has history of firing his service weapon, records show

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