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In a surprising move (to me, anyway) the man who shot Officer Marc Hanly was found not guilty of every charge except "recklessly endangering a civilian".
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Alex Rose, reports for the Delaware County Daily Times that Darrel Burt, 37, was found guilty of recklessly endangering a civilian, Corey Clark, but was acquitted on a dozen other counts that included attempted murder of police officers, attempted voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and assaulting a police officer by discharging a firearm.The shooting took place in the early hours of Aug. 30, 2015, when police were dispatched to Burt's Mohawk Manor Apartment unit on the 600 block of Mohawk Avenue.Clark had received a text message from an inebriated Burt that night indicating he might kill himself. Police were called after Clark heard what sounded like a gun being cocked behind Burt's closed apartment door.Hanly, Norwood Officer Charles Cardell Jr. and Tinicum Officer Derreck Geisler were outside the door when Clark eventually convinced Burt to crack it open. Hanly testified that he punched the door in and fired a TASER at Burt as the defendant moved behind the door. Hanly said he heard a scream from the other side of the apartment door, then saw a black handgun.Hanly was shot in the leg and chest but was wearing a bullet-proof vest that he credits with saving his life. The other two officers returned fire as Hanly was dragged to safety. Burt was struck in the elbow.Defense attorney Wana Saadzoi asked each of the officers during testimony Tuesday if they ever announced their presence to Burt. Cardell, Geisler and Hanly all testified that they did not recall doing so. Geisler said he was under the impression that Burt knew that police had been called.Burt, a former service member who served two tours of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army, also testified Wednesday that he reacted based on his training when the TASER was fired."I finally cracked the door, Corey's trying to push on the door and I see two weapons pointed at me," he said. "Both of them were in pistols format. The bottom one was a TASER. That's the one that reached inside the apartment and started shooting at me. I returned fire. I defended myself and I returned fire after I saw the TASER firing at me."Burt said did not see the uniformed officers outside his door and would not have shot at them if he knew they were there."I was trained to react a certain way when I have a weapon pointed at me," he said. "Anybody in uniform – police officers, military – they're on your side. That's what my training is: They're here to protect you. So if I would have known, I would not have shot at a police officer."Deputy District Attorney Michael McDevitt pointed to statements Burt made to investigators after his arrest, noting his explanation for the situation revolved around his depression and an argument inside a local bar earlier that night, not military training or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.McDevitt offered the opinion of forensic psychologist Dr. William Russell, who found little evidence Burt was suffering from PTSD at the time of the shooting.Russell pointed to notes from Burt's visits with psychologists and psychiatrists at the Veterans Administration, which indicated minimal discussion about PTSD going back a year and a half.Burt has also shown no distress since his incarceration more than a year ago aside from some sleep problems and no discussion of suicidal thoughts during that period, according to Russell. He added this is the first time Burt has been sober in about 10 years."I believe that he had a gun in his hand, he was inebriated, the TASER went off and impulse control took off – not a self-defense mode, not a transfer back to some type of Iraqi situation – and the behavior subsequent to that supports that (finding)," Russell said.But Dr. Elliot Atkins, a clinical psychologist testifying for the defense, said Burt meets the criteria for persistent alcohol abuse, depressive disorder and PTSD, which can manifest in hypervigilance, perceiving the world as a dangerous place and misinterpreting the intentions of others."My clinical opinion was that based on Mr. Burt's life history, and the diagnosis, and the events that were taking place at the time, that he believed his life was in imminent danger," he said. "If you determine that he did not know that there were police outside his door when he committed this – when he did the shooting, if you believe that he didn't know that, then what I'm saying is his behavior would be consistent with a self-defense."Jury deliberations began late Thursday and carried over to Friday afternoon. "This was a sad case and it was a long week," said Saadzoi in an email. Judge James Bradley reduced bail to 10 percent of $1,000 following the verdict. Sentencing is set for Oct. 11 pending a drug and alcohol evaluation, psychological evaluation and presentence investigation.
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