NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A police sergeant took the stand Wednesday in his second-degree murder trial. Albin Pearson, 35, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Hank Berry, III.

Pearson said he had no other option but to shoot Berry after he got control of another officer’s taser.

Pearson testified earlier that he and three other officers came to Berry’s Home to arrest him on a misdemeanor charge. They had no arrest warrant and no search warrant.

Berry refused to come outside, stopping in his front doorway, but Pearson and three other officers then went inside, a struggle followed, and Berry got control of a taser. That’s when Pearson shot Berry in the back and he died in his living room several minutes later.

The officers were trying to arrest Berry for abuse of the 911 system. He had made repeated calls regarding the welfare of his nine-year-old son. Police determined that the boy was safe in the custody of his ex-wife.

Visiting Judge Margaret Poles Spencer emphasized several times to attorneys on both sides that an arrest in someone’s home without a warrant, whether it’s for a misdemeanor or felony, is illegal without exigent circumstances.

Spencer ruled Wednesday afternoon that the police entry into Berry’s home was illegal and so was the arrest.

Pearson’s attorney for the second time tried to get the charges thrown out against his client, saying Pearson was just doing his job without malice toward Berry and defending his fellow officers, once Berry pointed the taser at two of them. Spencer denied the motion.

Closing arguments are expected Thursday morning and then the jury will get the case.

If convicted on the second-degree murder charge, Pearson would face from five to 40 years in prison.

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