Alameda DA Nancy O'Malley said she was "disappointed" by the involuntary manslaughter verdict against BART officer Johanes Mehserle, calling the events "a tragedy in every respect."
"We did everything we could do to present this case in the best possible way to the jury," she told reporters in Oakland shortly after the jury verdict was read Thursday afternoon. She noted that the jury rejected Mehserle's claim that he'd been reaching for his Taser, not his gun. Instead, the jury found Mehserle discharged his gun in a negligent and criminally reckless manner.
O'Malley said Mehserle faces a minimum of five years. Initial reports had put the sentence range at 2 to 4 years, with speculation probation might even be possible. But O'Malley said that a gun enhancement meant a minimum of five years.
"While we are disappointed in the verdict, and frustrated by the verdict, and it's not the verdict we sought," O'Malley said, her office respected the process. The case was tried in Los Angeles by Alameda Assistant DA Dave Stein.
Underlining the effort put into the prosecution, O'Malley noted that 15 DA employees had essentially relocated to L.A. for the past two months.