Thursday, July 8, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Mehserle Faces Up to 14 Years in Prison

By Nate Seltenrich and Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Updated: Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said this afternoon that ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle faces up to fourteen years in prison for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant, because the jury also convicted him of using a gun in the commission of a homicide. The gun enhancement charge can add up to ten years to the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

Without the gun enhancement conviction, Mehserle would have faced a maximum of four years in prison, O'Malley said at a news conference at the Alameda County courthouse in Oakland this afternoon. But the gun enhancement adds three, four, or ten years to the sentence, meaning that Mehserle could be sentenced to up to fourteen years behind bars, O'Malley said.

Mehserle is scheduled to be sentenced on August 6 and was taken into custody after the jury's verdict was announced today. His possible sentence ranges from five to fourteen years, O'Malley said.

Still, O'Malley said she was "frustrated and dissapointed" by the jury's verdict. During the trial, her deputy, prosecutor David Stein, pushed hard for a second-degree murder conviction.

Stein had argued that Mehserle lied when he told other BART officers after killing Grant that he thought Grant had a gun. Stein also maintained that Mehserle lied on the stand when said he meant to use his Taser on Grant.

But the verdict revealed that the jury rejected Stein's argument and believed Mehserle's testimony -- that he thought he pulled out his Taser -- and not his gun -- when he shot Grant. But the jury found that Mehserle actions were still criminal because he acted "recklessly" or with "criminal negligence."

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