Hoke Sheriff's Deputy Indicted on Charge of...
Posted December 17, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST
RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) — A Hoke County sheriff's deputy who was cleared of wrongdoing in an internal investigation has been indicted by a grand jury on a charge of voluntary manslaughter.
The grand jury deliberated about 30 minutes Tuesday before deciding that Deputy Frank Edward Hicks should be tried for the death of David Michael Sivak.
Sivak was killed on Labor Day weekend. Hicks, 41, told investigators that he didn't start shooting until Sivak tried to run over him with a van. An autopsy report said Sivak, 32, was hit by four bullets, and the fatal one struck him in the back.
Just one week ago, Sheriff Wayne Byrd said an internal review by his investigators concluded that Hicks followed department and state policies on the use of deadly force when he shot Sivak.
The internal review, however, had no bearing on the state's investigation of the shooting. The same grand jury had found in October that probable cause existed to believe Hicks committed voluntary manslaughter against Sivak.
Jurors had recommended further investigation by District Attorney Jean Powell, who turned the case over to the state attorney general's office.
Superior Court Judge B. Craig Ellis set a $10,000 unsecured bond for Hicks.
The former Army military policeman was not permitted to testify before the grand jury and has been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 29. Hicks' first court appearance will be Jan. 12, 1998.
After the grand jury's decision, Byrd said he would consult with the county attorney about Hicks' status with the department.
Sivak's mother-in-law, Joan Miller, represented the family at the courthouse.
``Thank you, Jesus,'' she exclaimed after hearing of the indictment. ``We can't bring David back, but we can get justice for the family.''
JoAnn Sivak, David Sivak's widow, said she was confident the grand jury would indict Hicks, but is troubled by Byrd's position.
``I don't understand why the state thinks Hicks committed a wrong and the sheriff doesn't,'' she said. ``I don't want to call Hicks a liar, but his story makes no sense.''
Hicks had stopped to check out Sivak's van, which was parked at a closed convenience store about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 29. As Hicks approached the van, Sivak sped away and led Hicks on a chase through western Hoke County before Hicks lost sight of the vehicle.
A couple later called to report a strange van near a brush pile on their property. Hicks responded to the call and identified the van as the one he had been chasing.
Sivak later emerged from some woods and climbed into the van, ignoring Hicks' order to stop.
According to witnesses, Sivak started the van and drove toward Hicks, who fired 11 shots at the moving vehicle. The last shot struck Sivak in the back and pierced his heart, fatally wounding him.
An autopsy report indicated Sivak had cocaine in his system, and police reports show he was facing two DWI charges.
Sivak, a native of Washington, D.C., moved to the area with his wife and three children from Alexandria, Va., about two years ago. He was a driver for the Mayflower Company in Fayetteville.
Copyright ©1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.