Also see: Officer laughing as he leaves burning car: "New Orleans - Lt. Joseph Meisch took the stand saying he recalls Officer Greg McRae laughing as he came down the levee from the scene of a burning car -- a car containing Henry Glover's body. Blank and expressionless is how he described Lt Dwayne Scheuermann, the other defendant accused in the car burning. ... " - www.fox8live.com, November 18, 2010
by Paul Murphy - Eyewitness News
November 29, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- There were high emotions on the witness stand Monday afternoon, as defendant Officer Greg McRae told his side of the story in the Henry Glover trial.
McRae is accused of burning the body of a man shot by police four days after Hurricane Katrina.
McRae is on trial with four other former or current New Orleans police officers charged in the shooting of an unarmed man outside an Algiers shopping center and alleged cover-up.
McRae took the witness stand in his own defense and admitted to the jury he burned 31-year-old Henry Glover’s body, four days after Katrina hit.
A Good Samaritan drove Glover’s dying body to a make-shift police compound at Habans Elementary, where McRae was stationed after the storm.
McRae told the jury his commander, Cpt. Jeff Winn, told him to get the car and the body out of the compound.
With tears in his eyes, McRae told the jury, “I drove the car to a location on the other side of the levee... to the batture side and drove the car as far as I could drive it. I lit a flare then threw it in the car. I wasn’t going to let it rot."
McRae then broke down on the witness stand, describing the many bodies he saw floating in the water in the days following Hurricane Katrina.
"His testimony today was first person. 'Yeah, I made a mistake. But this is why I made a mistake.' He talked about dead bodies floating, he talked about children in refigerators," said Donald "Chick" Foret, a former prosecutor. "Powerful testimony by Officer McRae. If he couldn't help himself this afternoon, nobody can help him."
McRae also told the jury he now realizes the pain he caused the Glover family, and if he had it to do over again, he wouldn’t burn the body.
On cross examination, prosecutor Jared Fishman got McCrae to admit there was no legitimate law enforcement purpose for burning the body.
Fishman: “If someone wanted to stop a murder investigation, burning the body would be a good way to do it?"
McCrae: "Yes sir, but that’s not what I was thinking about that day."
"He certainly gave the jury a reason why he did it," Foret said. "Now whether they accept it or reject it, we don't know and won't know for sometime, but he was an excellent, believable, credible witness."
McCrae is the second defendant to take the stand in his own defense.
David Warren, the shooter, testified last week, and his defense wrapped up earlier Monday.