Day 13: Defense in Brelo trial claims prosecutors have not proven case

Day 13: Defense in Brelo trial claims prosecutors have not proven case

Judge John O'Donnell has just heard arguments from the defense that he should grant what is known as a Rule 29 motion, basically rule that the state has not proven its case against Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo, and dismiss charges against him.

Judge O'Donnell will make his decision on Monday.

Officer Brelo is accused in the November 29, 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after a lengthy police chase and shooting.

The State of Ohio is prepared to rest its case, meaning the defense may begin its case. But defense attorneys have already used prosecution witnesses to make parts of their case.

"He heard the shots fired call as he's putting his car in park, he looks up and see's the car coming at him.  See's it collide with 238 and then immediately hears gunfire coming from the area of the Malibu," testified John Saraya, a special agent with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

There is no doubt Police Officer Michael Brelo was in a tough situation at the end of the chase with Russell and Williams.

The question at his voluntary manslaughter trial is did his reaction to the situation go too far?

After Brelo got out of his cruiser he told BCI investigators that he took cover behind car 238 but feared the Malibu that Russell was driving would push the car on top of him.

"He didn't want to get trapped under 238, he didn't want to get hit with crossfire and he wanted a better angle of attack to shoot and fire at the Malibu, correct?" asked defense attorneys.

"Yes, sir." answered Saraya.

During cross-examination, defense attorneys established that Brelo wasn't the only officer to use more than one ammunition magazine, that his hearing was compromised after firing from inside his car, that other officers also lost count of the number of shots they fired, and that Brelo lapsed into what's known as tunnel vision.

"In the flight or fight of a human, the eye muscles will re-focus the eye to what is exactly what is exactly in front of him where the threat is. When that occurs peripheral vision diminishes," said Saraya.

A cousin of Malissa Williams, Trina Williams testified that Malissa often made threats against police who she believed had targeted her and that she abused a variety of drugs.

The trial is set to resume on Monday, April 26. The defense is expected to take about a week to present its side.

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