Former Mesa cop accused of murder returns to court

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Mitch Brailsford and his lawyer, Michael Piccarreta (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Mitch Brailsford and his lawyer, Michael Piccarreta (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A former Mesa police officer charged with second-degree murder in connection with a shooting at the first of the year was in court for a pre-trial conference Friday.

Mitch Brailsford shot and killed an unarmed man named Daniel Shaver inside a Mesa La Quinta Inn in January.

Brailsford said he believed Shaver, who was drunk and had not been complying with officers’ orders, was reaching for a gun. That was not the case.

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The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office determined the shooting – Brailsford fired five times – was not justified.

While Brailsford, who was fired in March, did not speak himself, his lawyer addressed the issue of the body-cam video.

“We think a jury should see [the body-cam video] first-hand in the context of what the experts explaining to them what the rules of engagement are and why certain things were done in certain manners,” Michael Piccarreta explained.

Context, he said, is key.

“We just want to make sure we get a fair and unbiased jury,” he continued. “We want to get people that haven’t made up their mind on snippets and news reports. We want open-minded people and fair-minded people, which we’ll get. If we get that – and we will -- then the case will proceed and justice will be done.”

Piccarreta said he expected the trial will take place in May or September.

“We’re looking forward to getting this trial behind us and having him acquitted,” he said. “It’s awful to be indicted on a charge that you’re innocent of. You go through it and it’s a process but we have confidence in juries and we have confidence in the courts and that this matter will be resolved favorably. You just have to go through the system.

"We’re looking forward to getting this trial behind us and having him acquitted."

Brailsford is due back in court in February.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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