East Bay News

Defense rests in Mehserle murder trial

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Defense rests in Mehserle murder trial ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson Cell phone photo taken by Oscar Grant Johannes Mehserle and Oscar Grant Johannes Mehserle courtroom sketch Cell phone photo taken by Oscar Grant Johannes Mehserle trial courtroom spectators ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson Cell phone video of Oscar Grant shooting Cell phone video of the Oscar Grant shooting was released by the courts

An ambulance rushed to the courthouse Tuesday during the BART shooting trial when the victim's mother nearly collapsed after hearing some emotional testimony.

Wanda Johnson went to the hospital on what turned out to be the final day of testimony in the murder trial of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, accused of killing her son, Oscar Grant, at the Fruitvale BART station.

Johnson was rushed away to a hospital in an ambulance shortly after the defense rested its case. Family members say she is doing well and appears to simply be worn down and exhausted from the trial.

On Tuesday, the evidence portion of the trial ended. On Thursday, lawyers will make their closing statements and then the case will be in the jury's hands.

The final witness in the defense's case was the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Grant. He told the jury the cause of death for the 22-year-old was a gunshot wound to the back. The graphic testimony had Grant's mother loudly sobbing. Judge Robert Perry ordered jurors to leave the room and called a brief recess.

Outside the courtroom, Johnson was taken away in an ambulance moments after speaking to reporters about the emotional day.

"Every day's emotional, not just today. It's every day," she said. "Every day I wake up and I go through this, with my son not being here. He was killed for nothing."

11 defense witnesses took the stand including the one person at the center of the murder trial. Defense attorney Michael Rains painted the picture of a poorly-trained officer who pulled his gun by mistake. He put Grant's background on trial and said he resisted officers on the platform.

Now, it is up to the jury to decide.

"And this, we pray, will send a message to all police officers over the United States, that if you commit murder, you can and will be held accountable," said Grant's uncle, Cephus Johnson.

Prosecutors called rebuttal witnesses, a series of officers who spoke with Mehserle after the shooting. The BART officer seen in a platform surveillance video talking with Mehslere minutes after he shot Grant said the former officer seemed in shock.

But, officer Emery Knudtson said he never heard Mehserle say the shooting was an accident.

Oakland resident Timothy Killings was released after spending the weekend in jail for an outburst in the courtroom. He yelled and cursed at Mehserle while he sobbed on the stand. On Tuesday, he said he would do it all over again.

"It's been a year and a half and this is his first time ever getting on the stand, crying," he said. "He hasn't even apologized to the family so, I basically thought it was a load of crap and I couldn't hold it in."

Exactly what level of murder charges the jury will consider in this case still remains to be seen. On Wednesday, lawyers will be in court working on jury instructions and then the judge will determine whether the jurors will consider anything other than murder one which is currently on the table.

The final piece of evidence jurors heard Tuesday was introduced by prosecutors. It was the weight of the Taser Mehserle had on his gun belt during the shooting, as it compared to the weight of the gun that he was carrying.

Prosecutors said the Taser weighed 359.9 grams and the gun weighed 1,140.84 grams, or 2.5 pounds.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
BART, johannes mehserle, oscar grant, use of force, east bay news, cecilia vega
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