Two killed in 2012 chase and shooting suffered 47 gunshot wounds
CLEVELAND- The trial of a Cleveland police officer charged with manslaughter in the November 2012 deadly chase and shooting continued Thursday morning.
Officer Michael Brelo, 31, faces two counts of voluntary manslaughter for the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. The two were shot and killed following a 22-minute chase through the city of Cleveland, ending in gunfire behind Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland.
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On Thursday, prosecutors called Dr. Harold Schueler, chief toxicologist with the Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Lab. Schueler said Russell had a blood-alcohol content of .131 and tested positive for cocaine. Williams also had cocaine in her system, as well as marijuana.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Joseph Felo also took the stand. He performed the autopsy on Williams, who sustained 24 gunshots wounds and of those, 13 had a downward trajectory. Russell was also hit with 15 bullets with downward trajectories. He was shot 23 times total.
Prosecutors accuse Brelo of using unnecessary force when he fired 49 shots at the two unarmed suspects. They said Brelo jumped onto the hood of Russell’s Chevrolet Malibu and continued shooting into the car.
Attorneys for Brelo said their client believed he was in a dangerous, crossfire situation and acted in order to protect himself.
On Wednesday, testimony was interrupted when a sheriff’s deputy told the court a man made a threat against Officer Brelo. According to the deputy, Alfredo Williams said if the officer was not convicted, he would kill him himself. Alfredo Williams, brother of Malissa, denied threatening anyone and was barred from the courtroom.