Prosecution wraps up as Officer Michael Brelo's trial continues - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Prosecution wraps up as Officer Michael Brelo's trial continues week 3

Officer Michael Brelo on trial. (Source: WOIO) Officer Michael Brelo on trial. (Source: WOIO)
The prosecution rested its case in the Michael Brelo trial on Tuesday. Officer Brelo is accused in the Nov. 29, 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after a lengthy police chase and shooting. 

Prosecutors spent the day trying to tie up loose ends before the defense began its case. Steven Bartczak, the Bratenahl officer whose dash cam captured the final moments of the shooting at Heritage Middle School, was called by the prosecution but may have made points for the defense. 

He testified what he remembered about the shooting, such as not hearing a pause in the firing, was proved mistaken by the tape. It raised the question that if he was confused about the shots, could others on scene also? 

Bartczak also demonstrated movement he saw from Russell in the Malibu after the shooting stopped. 

"On the driver's side of the vehicle, behind the steering wheel, and slid just like this, quick and abrupt," explained Bartczak.

Could that bolster the defense contention that firing continued because officers continued to perceive the movement as a threat?

John Saraya, the lead investigator for BCI in the case, detailed a meticulous investigation that began with a warning to officers. 

"Don't talk to other officers involved." 

The investigation included tracing the route of the chase that preceded the shooting. Many surveillance cameras on the route captured portions of the chase, enough to fill a 20 minute video played in court. 

He also interviewed officers involved in the confrontation at the school, asking "How the situation evolved, how they got involved into the pursuit, how they ended up in the shooting, what their perceptions were as far as what was happening, their interpretation of facts, if they fired where they were."

The defense's case should begin later this week.  

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