Day 7: Forensic experts testify in Officer Michael Brelo's trial - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Day 7: Forensic experts testify in Officer Michael Brelo's trial

Officer Michael Brelo is on trial in the shooting deaths of two people back in 2012. (Source: WOIO) Officer Michael Brelo is on trial in the shooting deaths of two people back in 2012. (Source: WOIO)
Prosecutors showed clothing worn by the shooting victims. Yellow tape marks where bullets entered the garment. (Source: WOIO) Prosecutors showed clothing worn by the shooting victims. Yellow tape marks where bullets entered the garment. (Source: WOIO)
More testimony from a forensic scientist with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office began day seven in Officer Michael Brelo's trial. 

On Monday, Curtiss Jones identified blood-stained clothing worn by Malissa Williams when she was killed in a hail of police gunfire. Homeless at the time, it appears Williams wore multiple layers of clothing. Some items were stained with blood and marked with yellow tape where bullets passed through.

Jones returned to the stand on Tuesday, identifying the clothing that Timothy Russell wore when he died. A compelling visual was the bullet-riddled shirt Russell was wearing.

The combination of clothing and photographs from the medical examiner brought family members to tears. 

For a time, the defense concentrated on the finding that neither of the shooting victims' hands tested positive for handling metal objects.

Prosecutors argued the that finding showed neither Williams nor Russell handled a gun, but the defense questions that.

Tuesday afternoon, an expert in automobile mechanics explained why an older car would backfire.

"If you were gonna build a car that was gonna backfire this would be the poster child," H. Lyn Smith told the court, referring to Timothy Russell's Chevy Malibu.

Upon cross-examination, Smith admitted he could not determine when or how many times the vehicle backfired, because it was beyond his ability.

Next on the stand was Cleveland Police Officer Brian Sabolik.

Sabolik was close to the Malibu when police stopped it at Heritage Middle School. He fired two shots at the driver, then moved closer and fired two more. When he moved again and looked up, Sabolik says he saw someone on the car's hood, firing. The person was in his line of fire, so Sabolik did not fire again.

"What was he doing?" asked prosecutors. 

"He was firing down," said Sabolik, who recalled that when he moved closer, the person on the hood was gone. 

Sabolik's testimony painted a vivid picture of the scene. He believed the threat of danger to officers remained through all shots fired.

"I remember looking at my vest to see if I was hit," Sabolik said.

When another officer on the scene asked him why he was shaking, Sabolik answered, "Did you see what just happened?"  

During testimony, Sabolik said later that night at the union hall he spoke briefly to Brelo, who told him, "I was the one on the hood of the car."

Sabolik is the only officer to say he saw someone firing on the hood of the Malibu.

Brelo is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Russell and Williams after the deadly police chase and shooting on Nov. 29, 2012.

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