Marvin Guy has been in jail for eight years — without a trial — facing charges for allegedly killing an officer during a senseless no-knock police raid that endangered everyone involved, thinking he defended himself against an intruder.
The penalty is execution. It will take all of us to save his life and get him free.
Here’s how you can help:
1. Sign the PEtition
Sign the petition and stay in the loop about upcoming ways we can help fight to free Marvin.
We’re going to need to crowdfund a huge amount of money in order to cover the cost of Marvin’s legal defense — chip in here to help:
4. Share Marvin’s Story
The more people who learn about Marvin’s case and join our fight, the more pressure key decision-makers will feel to drop the charges against him.
In the middle of the night on Friday, May 9th of 2014 — before the Black Lives Matter Movement had even begun, two months before Eric Garner was murdered, before Ferguson, half a dozen years before we would chant Breonna’s name — police in the rural central Texas town of Killeen performed a disastrous, reckless, and fundamentally racist no-knock drug raid on the home of Marvin Guy.
The entire raid was a clumsy, poorly executed debacle that violated countless department policies, ultimately left an officer dead, and has an innocent Black man facing the death penalty for a crime he didn’t commit.
Marvin had absolutely no idea that the police were breaking into his home. Days earlier a violent home invasion where a woman was seriously injured in his neighborhood had spooked Marvin’s entire community. Texas is a “stand your ground” state where the Castle Doctrine allows residents to use lethal force to protect themselves, their homes and their families against violent intruders. As police shattered windows and tried to ram through the doors of Marvin’s home, Marvin, who had been asleep, fired his gun through his bedroom window, believing he was stopping an intruder.
To this day, it’s not clear if police were hit by shots fired from Marvin or by their own bullets that were coming from every possible angle.
As a police officer tripped, dropped, and accidentally exploded a flash grenade, officers who were surrounding Marvin’s home began randomly firing their guns all over the place. Bullets were flying everywhere — endangering the entire apartment complex. It’s a miracle that Marvin and his girlfriend survived.
Of course, no drugs were found in Marvin’s home.
The entire justification for the no-knock raid was that Marvin was running a major drug operation out of the apartment. He wasn’t. Marvin had a full-time job, a church home, and a promising relationship with a woman he loved. And as soon as Marvin realized that it was the police who were trying to break into his home, he peacefully surrendered. Nonetheless, police mauled Marvin’s girlfriend, breaking her ribs and causing cuts and bruises across her body. Even though Marvin had surrendered, an officer got his gun and put it inside of Marvin’s mouth and repeatedly threatened to kill him. The brutal force used against Marvin after he surrendered has left him disabled without the full use of his hands and feet.
That was eight years ago.
Barack Obama still had more than two years left in his presidency. Trump hadn’t even announced that he was going to run. And almost every name we call out today in the Black Lives Matter Movement was of a person who was still fully alive and well. Unbeknownst to most of the world, Marvin Guy has spent the past 7 years of his life languishing in a local county jail without ever even having a trial. It’s an abomination. Even though Marvin has never been convicted of a crime, he has spent the past 2,500+ days behind bars as local prosecutors threaten to execute him with the death penalty. Marvin has been in jail without being convicted of a crime longer than almost anybody in the country.
This is not just unethical. It’s completely unconstitutional under the Sixth Amendment – the right to a speedy trial.
It is up to all of us, and on each of us, to save this man’s life. It’s one thing to overturn a wrongful conviction, but here, we’re trying to stop a wrongful conviction and execution from happening in the first place.
Marvin Guy has spent the past eight years of his life languishing in a local county jail without ever even having a trial.
Painfully, what we know is that if Marvin was white, he’d already be free. This isn’t conjecture. 5 months before police in Bell County performed a no-knock raid on Marvin’s home, police did the exact same thing on the home of a white man named Henry Magee just two counties over. When police barged into Henry’s home, he grabbed an assault rifle and shot and killed an officer, later claiming that he didn’t know it was the police.
That claim, his whiteness, and a good legal team, were basically enough to get the charges dropped against Henry Magee, and he was released from jail for time served. No death penalty. No keeping him in jail for 7 years without a conviction. He was out in a matter of months and has fully moved on with his life.
Petition the Bell County D.A.:
When you add your name to our super-petition, it automatically sends a message to key decision-makers in Texas — including the Bell County District Attorney who has the power to drop the murder charges.
No such break has befallen Marvin Guy. Instead, an all white grand jury, pressured by a prosecutor that clearly wants blood, determined that they will pursue the death penalty against Marvin – evidence be damned. A white man shooting and killing a police officer with an assault rifle during a no-knock drug raid was treated altogether differently. And that’s not OK.
No-knock raids are being banned across the country for good reason – and Grassroots Law Project even worked with local leader Jumeka Reed to help ban them right here in Killeen.
They are excessively dangerous for everybody involved. Had a major drug operation actually been discovered in Marvin’s home, which it wasn’t, it still would not have been worth what it has cost Marvin, and what it cost the family of Charles Dinwiddie, the officer who was killed in the raid. It’s too much.
These raids are driven by the thing that we often call the War on Drugs, but is really just a war on people – particularly Black, brown, and poor people across the country. Drug-use hasn’t gone down, but millions of lives have been destroyed by the War on Drugs in the process. This raid on Marvin’s home didn’t make the community safer – it made it into a war zone. And in some ways, it’s not just the militarization of police that is behind what happened to Marvin, but the video gamification of policing, where, like Call of Duty, men strap on body armor and weapons of war, but ultimately play games with the lives of real people, barging into homes in the middle of the night, dropping random grenades and firing guns indiscriminately. No reasonable person believes that was the best way to handle whatever they thought Marvin was doing.
But here we are…
And Marvin needs our help.
The Grassroots Law Project is taking on this injustice and making Marvin’s case our own. Our primary goal is not just to save Marvin’s life and spare him from the death penalty, but to see him set free. We are raising a legal defense fund for Marvin to cover the costs of a brilliant new team of attorneys and experts to fight for him. In the United States, it typically costs at least $3 million to prosecute a death penalty case, and it costs the same or more to successfully defend against it.
When we decided to come on board this case, we soon realized that Marvin’s court appointed attorney had actually taken another full-time job as a math teacher and was basically bootlegging Marvin’s case on the side. We couldn’t believe it. Marvin deserves so much better than this.
In addition to securing Marvin’s freedom, we see him as the surviving face of everything that’s wrong and deeply unjust with no-knock raids.
Our team is strong because of thousands of people like you.
We formed Grassroots Law Project to combine the power of people with deep expertise of the American legal system to fight against violent policing. We use the latest technology to organize volunteers everywhere at once. Together, we stopped an execution before. We can again. But we need as many people as possible to join us to free Marvin Guy.