Verdict reached for officer over deaths in 137-shot barrage

In a Monday, April 6, 2015 file photo, Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo listens to opening arguments in Cleveland in his trial on voluntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of two unarmed motorists after a high-speed chase. The circumstances of a police shooting trial unfolding in a Cleveland courtroom share similarities to a high-speed chase and fatal shooting in Tennessee as well as the matters of law on which the Cleveland case will be decided: When does a threat to officers’ lives end? (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, Pool, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland officer has been found not guilty in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire after a high-speed chase.

The judge’s verdict Saturday for 31-year-old Michael Brelo comes after a four-week bench trial on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on Nov. 29, 2012.

Thirteen officers fired at the suspects’ car that night in a school parking lot. Yet only Brelo was charged criminally.

Prosecutors said he waited until the vehicle had stopped and the occupants were no longer a threat to step onto the hood and fire 15 rounds into the windshield.

Brelo could have faced 22 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

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