An Alameda County Superior Court judge said today he won’t allow witnesses to testify that they overheard former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle mention using his Taser stun gun before he fatally shot Oscar Grant III on New Year’s Day.
At least one witness for the defense in Mehserle’s preliminary hearing on a murder charge was expected to testify that Mehserle said he planned to use a Taser on Grant.
The defense has contended that Mehserle, 27, meant to fire his Taser gun when he shot and killed 22-year-old Grant on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station.
Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, said this morning the testimony should be admissible because it would help show Mehserle’s state of mind at the time of the shooting.
However, Judge C. Don Clay decided not to allow the testimony, concluding that it would amount to hearsay.
Clay also opted to allow the defense to present a short segment of a slow-motion video of the interaction between Grant and the BART officers just before the shooting.
The defense claims the enhanced video will show that Grant was resisting the officers. The prosecution contends Grant was cooperative.
The shooting occurred after Mehserle and other officers were called to the Fruitvale station to respond to reports of a fight on a train.
Mehserle’s partner, Officer Jon Woffinden, began testifying last week and was being cross-examined this morning. BART Officer Tony Pirone is expected to testify later today.