Malakoff officer probe could go to grand jury

Posted by : admin | On : January 29, 2014

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent

MALAKOFF—A Texas Rangers investigative report into a December 2013 incident involving an off-duty Malakoff police officer during which an Iowa man died has been forwarded to the Navarro County District Attorney.
“It will be reviewed to see if any criminal charges will come out of the action,” Navarro County District Attorney Lowell Thompson said, “and if there are, it will be presented to a grand jury Feb. 19.” Thompson said the report was received Tuesday, Jan. 28. The district attorney declined further comment.

Navarro County Sheiff Elmer Tanner named Ernest Fierro Jan. 9 as the Malakoff police officer involved in the incident in which William Livezey of Iowa died. On Jan. 11 final autopsy report obtained by The News from American Forensics in Mesquite ruled Livezey’s “manner of death” as “natural,” with the cause of death listed as “hypertensive and cardiovascular disease.” The report states Livezey had a “history of congestive heart failure and diabetes mellitus” with “evidence of coronary artery bypass grafting.”
The autopsy report also noted “no evidence of significant trauma,” but did list an “abrasion on top of the head with no underlying injuries,” and “two quarter-inch abrasions right lower abdomen.” The autopsy report notes a “history of collapse while in police custody during an arrest,” but that refers specifically to the single Navarro County incident in question, according to Amy Gruszecki, the forensic pathologist who signed the report. Additionally, the final autopsy report concluded that “if any additional investigative information becomes available, this report may be amended.”

Livezey died Dec. 11. Calls that morning to the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office reported reckless driving involving Livezey and a motorcyclist, later learned to be Fierro, but it is not clear which party was reported as driving recklessly. Moreover, little is known about what happened specifically during the incident along Highway 31 in the Chamber Creek bottom east of Corsicana besides accounts from two Navarro County deputies who found Livezey on the side of the road in handcuffs, presumptively from Fierro. Livezey then fell ill, and deputies removed the handcuffs and began CPR on him while awaiting an ambulance. Livezey later died at Navarro Regional Hospital.

Fierro has been employed by the Malakoff Police Dept. since mid-summer 2013, after serving previously with Dallas police, then as a Dallas County district attorney’s office investigator, and then as a member of the Ferris Police Department. Fierro resigned from the Dallas police in November 2005 during an investigation into questionable activities during his stint, The Dallas Morning News reported in 2008, but kept his peace officer’s license. Fierro was still on-duty with the Malakoff police force as late as Jan. 13.