Dominique Heaggan-Brown chooses not to testify; state rests in trial

Dominique Heaggan-Brown

MILWAUKEE — The state rests its case in the trial of Dominique Heaggan-Brown, the former Milwaukee police officer involved in the shooting that sparked two nights of unrest in August 2016. In court Friday, June 16th the defense made its case. Their first possible witness was Heaggan-Brown himself but he chose not to testify.

Heaggan-Brown: "I will not be testifying."

Judge Conen: "And you believe it's in your own best interest?"

Heaggan-Brown: "Yes."

Judge Conen: "No one promised you anything to do this?

Heaggan-Brown: "No." 

Earlier, prosecutors wrapped up their witness list. We heard from the assistant medical examiner who conducted the autopsy of Sylville Smith. Milwaukee County Assistant Medical Examiner Jessica Lelinski testified Smith was wounded in the right bicep and in the chest. She said the second shot is not a survivable injury.

"The main thing was that the bullet path went through the heart and the left lung," Lelinski said.

The investigator who interviewed Heaggan-Brown after the shooting says the former officer felt good that August afternoon. It was the three-year anniversary of his promotion to patrol officer.

Body camera video -- Sylville Smith case

"P.O. Heaggan-Brown got six to seven hours of sleep the previous night, which is more than his usual amount. He took no medications prior to this shift and had not had any alcohol for two weeks prior to his shift," said Wisconsin DOJ Special Agent Raymond Gibbs.

Gibbs describes Heaggan-Brown's explanation for the two shots he fired. FOX6 News is not broadcasting that part of the video, instead pausing it at the moments of each shot. 1.69 seconds after shooting Smith in the arm, Heaggan-Brown fired the second and fatal shot.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown body camera video

"P.O. Heaggan-Brown stated that he was screaming for the black male to show his hands but the black male moved his right hand toward his waistband while still looking at P.O. Heaggan-Brown. P.O. Heaggan-Brown feared the black male was reaching for a second gun hidden in his waistband," said Gibbs.

The verdict may well hinge on whether the jury accepts that reasoning.

Judge Conen said testimony will resume Monday morning with the defense's expert witness. He expects closing arguments to begin either late Monday morning or early in the afternoon.