Mehserle juror dismissed for falling asleep

Johannes Mehserle has said he was reaching for his Taser, but mistakenly used his gun and fatally shot Grant.
June 15, 2010 4:23:09 PM PDT
A juror in the murder trial of a former BART officer was suddenly excused Tuesday for repeatedly falling asleep during testimony.

This is the second time since this trial began that a juror has been excused. The first one was let go last week for medical reasons. On Tuesday, the judge unexpectedly released a female juror because she kept falling asleep during testimony.

Four alternates are left on the panel.

Judge Robert Perry released the middle-aged white woman, telling the court quote, "She was just having too much trouble trying to stay awake." The racial makeup of the jury stays the same as she was replaced by a middle-aged white man. There are no African Americans on the panel.

Former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle is on trial for killing passenger Oscar Grant and on Tuesday, the handgun at the center of the case was shown in the courtroom.

Lawyers spent the day dissecting former BART officer Johannes Mehserle's movements on the Fruitvale station platform, from how he held his gun to how he struggled to draw it from his holster just before he shot Grant. The actual .40 caliber handgun was held up in court for jurors to see.

Firearms experts, who trained Mehserle at BART and while he was in the police academy, testified for the prosecution. The experts said many things about the way Mehserle fired were inconsistent with the way he was trained.

For example, they said he should have fired from his knees if he thought the situation was lethal and probably should have fired more than one shot. After firing, he put his gun back in the holster, which experts said an officer should never do if he or she is in a dangerous situation.

"There's no way Mehserle could have made a mistake because there's too many steps involved in pulling that weapon out. And, all the training that he had was consistent to what he did to that gun when he pulled it out," Grant's uncle Cephus Johnson told ABC7.

Mehserle's defense team says the actions of the former officer back up their claim that he fired the gun accidentally and meant to use his Taser. Prosecutors are trying to convince the jury that Mehserle was emotional on the platform and lost control of the situation.

A sergeant who trains BART officers on firearms also spoke Tuesday and said that previously, he had repeatedly asked BART for real life simulation training for the officers. The sergeant said that over those two years, while Mehserle was on the force, he never got the green light for the training.


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