LOS ANGELES : Judge Says He Doubts Guilt of Officers in Shooting

A judge in the trial of two off-duty Los Angeles policemen accused of firing at a Highway Patrol officer during a drunken shooting spree said Thursday that he is unconvinced of their guilt and added that unless more compelling evidence comes out, he will overturn any conviction by a jury.

The remarks by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Trammell III came as prosecutors rested their case against Ted Teyechea and Michael Herrera, nine-year veterans of the Los Angeles Police Department who are charged with assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at an occupied vehicle and negligent discharge of a firearm.

Trammell, who spoke outside the presence of the jury, made the comments as he was ruling against a defense motion to dismiss the case, saying he does believe the officers discharged their firearms negligently in the Feb. 9 incident.

However, he added that the account of a California Highway Patrol officer--who testified that he could see the powder flash and hear the bullets zing by as the officers fired on him and other vehicles during a car chase on the Harbor Freeway--was “ridiculous.”


The judge said he doubts that more serious charges would be upheld by a jury.