Quebec man not guilty in shooting death of officer
Jury acquits man who thought raid was home invasion
LONGUEUIL, Que. •
A man who killed a police officer during a raid on his home has been found not guilty. The jury returned with its verdict around 4 p.m. yesterday.
Basil Parasiris shot and killed Laval police Const. Daniel Tessier on March 2, 2007 during a wild exchange of gunfire when Const. Tessier and eight other officers burst into Mr. Parasiris’s home looking for drugs.
Mr. Parasiris fired four shots, three hitting Const. Tessier. The fourth, a stray bullet, wounded another officer.
The officers fired 14 shots during the exchange, one of which wounded Mr. Parasiris’s wife, Penny Gounis. Testifying in his defence, Mr. Parasiris said he believed he was the victim of a home invasion.
Defence lawyer Jacques Larochelle raised questions about whether Const. Tessier was readily identifiable as a police officer. He suggested there was no proof Const. Tessier was wearing a Laval police baseball cap that was recovered at the hospital where Const. Tessier was declared dead. He also said Const. Tessier had not made the word “police” visible on the front of his bulletproof vest.
All eight of the other officers who entered the home the morning of the raid have testified they yelled out “police” before entering the house and while Const. Tessier and four others went upstairs to the family’s second-floor bedrooms.
However, Mr. Parasiris testified that all he heard was his wife’s screaming, which he described as hysterical, and heavy footsteps on the stairway.
Ms. Gounis, who was shot in the right arm while she stood in the couple’s bedroom, affirmed there was nothing to indicate it was police who smashed open their front door that morning.
Mr. Parasiris was originally charged with first-degree murder in Const. Tessier’s death. But Justice Guy Cournoyer instructed the jury that they had the options of finding him guilty of second-degree murder if they had reasonable doubt that Mr. Parasiris knew Const. Tessier was an officer or knew he might have been one; or manslaughter if they had reasonable doubt that Mr. Parasiris intended to murder Const. Tessier.
The jury was also told that if they were convinced Mr. Parasiris was acting in self-defence, they must acquit him.
Before the jury began deliberations, Mr. Parasiris was cleared on three other charges in the shooting of another officer, Const. Stéphane Forbes, who was wounded in the left arm during the raid. But the jury heard evidence that Const. Forbes was hit by a stray bullet.