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Former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle Will Be Tried for Murder
Created by Brian Shields on 6/4/2009 2:13:00 PM


OAKLAND (KRON) -- Johannes Mehserle's decision not to testify at a preliminary hearing left the judge hearing the case of the shooting of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant with no choice but to put the former BART Police Officer on trial for murder.

Judge C Don Clay told the court, "this case boils down to the state of mind of Mehserle at the time of the incident."

Since Mehserle didn't testify, Judge Clay says he couldn't determine the defendant's state of mind at the time of the shooting.

Mehserle shot and killed Grant while investigating a fight on a BART train early on New Year's morning.

The former officer’s attorney, Michael Rains, tells KRON 4 he’s not happy with how things turned out, “"We are going to take a look at things and move forward to the next arraignment and see if we need to challenge the basis on the ruling. We need to get transcripts from the prelim, and than with utmost certainty we will look into if we need to challenge the way that the judge conducted himself during the entire case. We will be figuring out our plan of action over the next couple of days and will most likely have a decision soon if we are going to file any sort of appeal."

Judge Clay said it was clear to him that Mehserle shot Grant, that the victim was unarmed, and that manslaughter can't be determined without knowing Mehserle's state of mind.

The judge also says he found a conflict in reports of Mehserle's behavior immediately before and after the shooting.  Officer Tony Pirone testified Mehserle told him to stand back because he was going to shoot Grant with a taser.  However Judge Clay says that doesn't square with the former officer's remarks that he thought Grant had a gun.  The judge says if Mehserle is going to argue a case of self defense, he would have to acknowledge the shooting was intentional and not an accident.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Mehserle intended to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun and not a Taser." the judge said.

As to whether Grant was cooperating with officers, the judge said the victim "did nothing to warrant deadly force."

Witnesses did say Mehserle said "Oh My God" several times after the shooting but Judge Clay says he didn't know what that meant.  He noted no one reported the officer as saying he made a mistake.

The judge said he wasn't sure he trusted the testimony on Pirone.  He did credit another officer's statements that Mehserle's mood was "elevated" following an earlier chase involving a man with a gun at the West Oakland station.

Mehserle is due to return to court June 18th for a formal arraignment.  He could then learn a trial date in the case.

KRON 4 Crews are getting reaction.  We want to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below.  All remarks are held for moderation so please don't refresh or resubmit them.  All comments may be featured on KRON4.com and KRON 4 newscasts.

(Copyright 2009, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)

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  Comments

  6/25/2010 11:36:52 AM
Dan Gonsalves 


New Comment 
From what I was told, Mehserle is arrogant and a "loose cannon." Here's what I think happened: He took his gun out to scare Grant through intimidation, and the gun accidentally discharged
  6/23/2010 9:32:55 PM
Anonymous 


New Comment 
Because the charge is murder, rather than manslaughter (as it should have been); Mehserle will most likely get an acquittal. Be prepared for an Oakland repeat of LA in 1992. You can thank the incompetent DA for that.
  5/20/2010 9:30:59 AM
Anonymous 


Lets Be real He's Guilty 
There is a difference between a taser and a gun the majority of taser are alot thicker then normal guns. There is total complete different weight disturbutions between the two and different feeling when you grab the two. When you have backup there is no reason to deploy a weapon when its over four officers present and one offender trying to be controlled do like other officers do use the strengh of yourself and partner to gain control of the suspect.
  6/5/2009 9:35:25 PM
nobody 


Tried for Murder? 
Actually Judge C. Don Clay did Mehserie credit. He will not be found guilty of murder by any sensible jury so he will go free. He will not face a manslaughter charge. Judge Clay is going against his oath by prejudging a man before trial so it shows how bigoted he is in reality-.
  6/5/2009 3:53:41 PM
Anonymous 


BETRAYED 
Anyone with with common sense can see the Bart Officer made a fetal mistake from the videos and from the witnesses' testimonies. The Bart officer is being prosecuted because he is white and the victim is black. I thought this is 21st century already. Why are we still using the race card? I felt that the Bart cop was betrayed by his own department, the District Attorney's Office, the Judge, and the community he served.
  6/5/2009 7:58:27 AM
Anonymous 


New Comment 
I think mehserle is guilty as sin. he had nothing to say because there was no justification for what he did. as to officer pironne, he did what cops do best which is to lie their tails off. judge clay is a breath of fresh air. we need more judges like him in state and federal courts around the country.
  6/5/2009 5:02:47 AM
Anonymous 


New Comment 
Johannes Mehserle intend to use his Gun. He killed a defenseless man in cold blood, he deserves Life.
  6/4/2009 9:07:54 PM
Anonymous 


New Comment 
It was clearly a mistake by Mehserle. He was overly excited, panicked and unfortunately Oscar Grant lost his life. Have any of you ever worked the streets with the thugs, thiefs, killers, rapists and citizens that have a total disregard for the law and the value of life? If you did you would be trigger happy too. Just look at the four dead Oakland Police officers that were killed by a useless thug. Those officers should have shot first then worried about asking questions and maybe they would still be here today instead of dead, killed by a piece of garbage.
  6/4/2009 8:12:43 PM
Anonymous 


? 
Judge Clay should be fired! He's playing to the media and he's doing what everyone wants/expects...not what is right. The bottom line is Officer Mehserle made a VERY tragic mistake! No doubt about it. I think involuntary manslaughter is appropriate, not murder. You can clearly see on the video that the officer was shocked/surprised after he shot grant. This is a very sad for all parties involved.
  6/4/2009 8:12:21 PM
Anonymous 


New Comment 
It was clearly a mistake by Mehserle. He was overly excited, panicked and unfortunately Oscar Grant lost his life. Have any of you ever worked the streets with the thugs, thiefs, killers, rapists and citizens that have a total disregard for the law and the value of life? If you did you would be trigger happy too. Just look at the four dead Oakland Police officers that were killed by a useless thug. Those officers should have shot first then worried about asking questions and maybe they would still be here today instead of dead, killed by a piece of garbage.
  6/4/2009 8:10:14 PM
Anonymous 


New Comment 
I really wanted to believe that this was an honest mistake by an untrained mind ;but listen as they destroy their own credibility - I now Absolutely Believe the JUDGE :MURDER IT IS ...
  6/4/2009 7:18:11 PM
Anonymous 


Absolute Absurdity 
The judge should be removed. His ruling is ridiculus. To be tried for murder, you have to prove malice. There is no way that anyone can say that Mehserle went to work that day intending to shoot "anyone." There was no malice, therefore no murder. As far as Pirone, how can anyone say he committed perjury. You don't know, unless you talked to him yourself and heard anything he had to say.
  6/4/2009 5:00:32 PM
The Watcher searching for truthful outcome 


New Comment 
While Officer Mehserle chose not to testify in his behalf, it makes me wonder what words will he come up with when and if he does testify during the forth-coming "murder trial." Also, I've wondered why the female Officer followed the one female video recording witness onto the bart train to request her camera? Is it that the female Officer knew that the actions taken by Mehserle was above and beyond the code of the law? Why won't she speak the truth...? Someone tell me WHY she wanted the video!
  6/4/2009 4:45:38 PM
Lita  


New Comment 
Thank You David Stein for all your hardwork and dedication! I pray that God who is Just grants you Heavenly Wisdom and Strategy for the trial. I applaud you!
  6/4/2009 4:34:05 PM
Anonymous 


Give it a rest 
Clearly the shooting was a mistake, but the officer has been punished enough all ready. He did not murder Grant, and the video proves he did not shoot Grant maliciously. The law requires citizens follow the orders of police officers, if Grant had followed even the most basic of orders, (as most all of us would have), he would still be alive today.
  6/4/2009 4:16:02 PM
Anonymous 


New Comment 
Most peace officers are triggered happy. If you do not comply with their verbal commands, they can easily escalated using un-neccssary force. I never trust policemen.
  6/4/2009 3:37:11 PM
Claudette Center 


Judge Clay made a brave and fair ruling 
Judge Clay is very brave to rule that Mehserle be Held to Answer for murder charges. Police Officers should be held accountable for their actions. An Oakland cop has NEVER been convicted of murder while on duty. Bravo Judge Clay!
  6/4/2009 3:24:50 PM
Anonymous 


New Comment 
Anthony Pirone should be prosecuted too since her committed perjury on the stand and Mehserle's bail should be revoked.
  6/4/2009 3:12:56 PM
Anonymous 


Justice 
Justice will prevail... God Is Great!
     
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