In February, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, police officer Lisa Mearkle was arrested and charged with “third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter,” as a result of a traffic stop involving David Kassick, whose car was displaying expired tags, according to Penn Live.
After Mearkle took the stand earlier today before a Dauphin County court and the prosecutor and defense each presented closing arguments, the jury adjourned for deliberations, also as reported by Penn Live.
Mearkle was said to cry at times throughout her testimony. The Hummelstown officer reportedly stated that she was from Williamstown, Pennsylvania, and that she graduated from Williams Valley High School in 1996. She cited a friend from her teenage years encountering difficulties with drug abuse as being an inspiration toward working as a law enforcement officer.
“I’m a good police officer. This should not have happened to me. I believe I could continue to be a police officer,” Mearkle was quoted. “I was only charged for political reasons. That’s how I feel.”
Back in February, Mearkle reportedly began following David Kassick as he drove his car after noticing that it had an “expired inspection sticker.”
Kassick, however, did not stop for Mearkle and continued driving until he reached his sister’s house. Once there, he parked the car in the driveway and ran.
The fact that Kassick did not stop when Mearkle attempted to get him to do so while driving, and that he then ran after parking his car, raised the suspicions of the police officer. The Hummelstown Police were on high alert after a bank robber had struck a few days earlier and was still at large. Mearkle wondered if Kassick was running because he may have committed “some crime.”
“Something is wrong here,” Mearkle was reported to recount her thoughts. “This is not normal for someone to flee the police.”
Mearkle then Tazed Kassick and demanded that he remove his hands from his jacket. When he refused to do so, Mearkle Tazed him two more times.
Lisa Mearkle was then reported to describe that Kassick had begun to remove the Taser probes, which was said to “increase her fear.”
At this point, Mearkle described how she drew her service pistol and shot Kassick in the back. When he still refused to show his hands, the police officer shot him again.
A member of the jury reportedly wept as Mearkle testified.
It was reported that David Kassick’s brother Dale was nearby when she shot David. It was stated that he was agitating his brother and making the situation worse than it already was.
Mearkle reportedly expressed remorse that Kassick died as a result of their encounter, but remained firm in her resolve that she acted appropriately.
“I believed he was armed,” Lisa Mearkle stated. “What else am I supposed to think he’s reaching for?”
Johnny Baer, the chief deputy district attorney, was said to ask Mearkle if she had rehearsed her testimony. Mearkle replied that she didn’t need to practice. She stated that she replays the events in her life every single day. Baer reportedly asked Mearkle if Kassick had ever threatened her in anyway, or if she ever saw a weapon. Mearkle was said to deny both lines of questioning.
[Feature Screenshot via PennLive Videos/YouTube]