Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer convicted last summer of fatally shooting unarmed Oscar Grant on a train platform on New Year's Eve 2009, could be out of jail less than a year into his two-year sentence.
Mehserle is due for an early-release hearing on June 1. It's likely, according to reports, that he will be eligible for early release due to good behavior, meaning he could be a free man by early June, 11 months after his conviction.
Mehserle was convicted of manslaughter in July 2010 and sentenced to two years behind bars in the fall. Supporters of Grant, the unarmed 22-year-old Hayward man Mehserle shot once in the back while, he claimed in court, mistaking his gun for his Taser, reacted to both court proceedings with violence and vandalism in Oakland.
Supporters of Grant wanted a murder conviction. Mehserle's supporters say that Grant's criminal history and the reports of violence before the incident mean Mehserle was right in attempting to taser Grant, and that the fatal shooting was an honest mistake.
The case catapulted to national attention after video footages recorded on cell phones captured Mehserle shooting Grant in the back while Grant lay prone on the ground at the Fruitvale BART station.
Grant's family expressed anger at the notion that Mehserle would not serve his full sentence.
A civil case against Mehserle and other BART officers is still in the courts, litigated by lawyer John Burris. The transit agency cannot be held liable for Grant's death, a court has ruled.