DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — Day one of the murder trial for Hummesltown Police Officer Lisa Mearkle lasted around seven hours, and included more than a dozen witnesses on the stand; six for the prosecution and seven for the defense. Witnesses ranged from forensic and taser experts, friends and co-workers of officer Lisa Mearkle, and people who were at the scene.
The veteran Hummelstown police officer has been suspended from the police department, and is charged in the death of David Kassick.
Jurors heard opening statements, witnesses testimony, and the prosecution presented their biggest piece of evidence: video from officer Mearkle’s taser that recorded the shooting. The video had not been released to the public, but, was seen by everyone in the courtoom, including a group of Davick Kassick’s family members, who broke down as they watched. In the video officer Lisa Mearkle is seen tasing David Kassick. She repeatedly orders him to get on the ground and show his hands. As David is on the ground, he moves around a bit. At times both of his hands can be seen, and at some points you can only see one of his hands.
The incident happened in February, after Kassick failed to pull over during a routine traffic stop. Police said Kassick pulled into a driveway and took off running through a South Hanover Township yard, next to his sister’s house. When officer Mearkle chased after him, she says he refused her orders so she tazed him and then shot him twice in the back.
Mearkle is charged with third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors argue the taser video shows Mearkle did not have enough justification to shoot David Kassick. The defense argues that Mearkle was doing what she was trained to do and was justified to use deadly force.
Two expert witnesses are scheduled to testify Wednesday, and then officer Lisa Mearkle is expected to take the stand in her own defense. The trial could wrap up as early as Wednesday.