HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – After two days of deliberations, a Dauphin County jury found Officer Lisa Mearkle not guilty in the shooting death of David Kassick.
Kassick was shot twice in the back on February 2 after running from a traffic stop near Hummelstown.
“I feel relief right now, but it is going to take a little bit for me to get back to my normal self,” Mearkle said after the verdict. “This has taken a toll on me that no one understands.”
Mearkle took the stand in her own defense during the second day of her trial. At times she was yelling on the stand. She said she believed the charges against her were political.
“From what I understand, the cross examination of the defendant illustrates certain characteristics on her behalf that we thought mirrored what happened that day,” Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marisco said.
Despite Mearkle’s outbursts on the stand, the jury believed she thought her life was in danger when she shot Kassick.
“We are so appreciative to the attention and the patience this jury had, and ultimately we think they got it right,” defense attorney Brian Perry said.
Video of the shooting from Mearkle’s stun gun was the centerpiece of the prosecution’s case. Kassick’s family was in the courtroom when it was played. For some, it was the first time they saw Kassick’s last moments.
“It really hit me when he was laying on the ground and you can see him taking his last breath,” said Kevin Fetters, Kassick’s nephew. “I was very upset at the verdict. I called Lisa Mearkle a murderer in the courtroom and I got evicted from the courthouse. I just think it was very unfair and I do not think the jury had enough knowledge on the charges that were at hand.”
“I truly wish it did not happen,” Mearkle told reporters. “I want them [Kassick’s family] to know that I never wanted to shoot anybody.”
Mearkle plans on returning to her position with the Hummelstown Police Department.