HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A jury has been seated for the murder trial of Hummelstown police Officer Lisa Mearkle.
The final six jurists and two alternates were selected Monday. The panel of nine men and three women will hear opening statements Tuesday morning.
Mearkle is charged with third-degree murder and related counts in the February 2 shooting death of 59-year-old David Kassick in South Hanover Township.
“Murder of the third degrees carries a maximum of 40 years, so the most by law she could receive would be a 20- to 40-year sentence,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Johnny Baer said.
Mearkle tried to stop Kassick for expired inspection and emissions stickers, but Kassick drove to his sister’s home in the 100 block of Grandview Avenue and ran to the backyard. Authorities say Mearkle used a stun gun, ordered Kassick to show his hands, and then shot him twice in the back.
The shooting was captured on a camera attached to Mearkle’s Taser. The prosecution plans to show the video on the first day of the trial.
“The centerpiece of this case always was and will be the video and it is just about two minutes long, so the most critical piece of evidence is about two minutes of viewing time,” Baer said.
District Attorney Ed Marsico said the use of force was not justified because Kassick was not physically aggressive and never brandished anything that could have been viewed as a potential weapon.
Mearkle’s attorney has said she feared for her life because Kassick ignored repeated orders to show his hands and kept reaching under his waist as if he had a gun.
Jurors seated Monday are a Harrisburg man who works as a fiscal analyst for the Department of Revenue, a fire safety inspector, a Hewlett-Packard sales representative from the Hershey area, a Harrisburg man employed as an administrator for the state, and two Harrisburg women, one who works as a sign language interpreter.
While about half of the jurors are from the Harrisburg area, they told the court they do not know details of the case.