Oscar Grant's Family Rejects Mehserle Letter

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area
    Oscar Grant's uncle, Cehpus Johnson, and the family's attorney, John Burris over his shoulder.

    Oscar Grant's uncle had some harsh words to describe a letter of apology written by Johannes Mehserle.
         
    Speaking outside Oakland's True Vine Baptist church Saturday night, Cephus "Bobby" Johnson, rejected the letter released Friday terming it a "ploy."

    "Just like he faked a cry on the stand, he's sending out a fake letter to the public and nobody is fooled by this letter," Johnson said.

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    Johnson said he and the Grant family didn't believe the words in Mehserle's handwritten note, claiming that it was nothing more than an attempt to gain sympathy from the judge before sentencing.

    Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, was also at the church Saturday, but left abruptly. Family said she was too upset to speak.

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    Grant's family was also joined by church leaders.  They also spoke to the violence that happened in Oakland following the verdict of involuntary manslaughter.  About 80 people were arrested and 100 businesses suffered damage.

    One religious leader accused the media of making the violence seem worse than it actually was. "They had more fire in Los Angeles when the Lakers won the championship then we had in Oakland a few days ago," Keith Muhammad with the Nation of Islam said.

    Meanwhile, Mehserle's lawyer, Michael Rains, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would seek a delay of several weeks in Mehserle's Aug. 6 sentencing so that he would have more time to prepare.

    Rain has not spoken publicly since Thursday's verdict.

    Mehserle was convicted by a Los Angeles jury Thursday for the fatal shooting of Grant, 22, on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train platform on New Year's Day 2009.

    Prosecutors had pushed for a murder conviction. The conviction on a lesser charge is what sparked the protests.

    In a handwritten letter released Friday, Mehserle suggested a possible prison term wouldn't be his only punishment for killing Grant.

    He said he will forever "live, breathe, sleep and not sleep" with the memory of Grant dying on the train platform and "knowing that Mr. Grant should not have been shot."

    Mehserle, 28, remains in custody pending sentencing.

    Involuntary manslaughter convictions call for two to four years in prison, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry could tack on an additional three to 10 years because a gun was used in the killing.
         
    Mehserle said in the letter he hoped to one day be able to talk to Grant's family. Grant's uncle was not open to that idea when asked on Saturday.

    "When he does 14 years and writes that letter, then maybe I might talk to him," Johnson said.