Jury deliberations in the murder trial of former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle were suspended today because one of the jurors is sick.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman said Judge Robert Perry hopes that deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday, assuming that the juror who is sick today is feeling better.
However, the spokeswoman said another juror will be replaced because he is going on vacation, which is something Perry and the attorneys in the case were aware of when he was selected.
That juror will be replaced by an alternate and the panel will have to start their deliberations from scratch, the spokeswoman said.
However, jurors only deliberated for two hours and 20 minutes on Friday after getting the case at 1:40 p.m. and they then adjourned for the long Fourth of July weekend.
Mehserle is on trial for the fatal shooting of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III on the platform of the Fruitvale station in Oakland early on New Year’s Day 2009.
His lawyer, Michael Rains, has admitted that Mehserle shot and killed 22-year-old Grant but claims the shooting was an accident and that Mehserle, 28, meant to use his Taser gun.
Mehserle is free on $3 million bail.
In giving jurors their legal instructions on Friday, Perry said they will have the option of convicting Mehserle of second-degree murder or the lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Jurors will also have the option of finding Mehserle not guilty of all charges.
The trial was moved away from Alameda County because of concerns about whether Mehserle could get a fair trial because the extensive publicity the fatal shooting received and the passions it aroused in the community.