PONTIAC, Mich. (FOX 2) - A man accused of murdering an Oakland County Sheriff's deputy is headed to trial this week, with jury selection underway Monday.
Once the jury is seated the trial is expected to take approximately two weeks for 23-year-old Christopher Berak, who's been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Deputy Eric Overall. We'll stream the opening statements live on our Facebook page here.
Dashcam video shows Overall putting out stop sticks, a device often used in police pursuits to slow down suspects when he was struck and killed by the car involved in the chase.
"I assisted in bringing him back to the road and cutting off his uniform, getting his vest off to start CPR," Lapeer County deputy Kenneth Paul testified back in March of 2018. He recalled being on duty at the Lapeer County Sheriff's Office when he says Berak came into the jail acting strangely.
The suspect had previously been pulled over for speeding in Shelby Township and for some reason came to a neighboring county to confront police about it.
"He told me he was God. He continued to tell me he was God; he questioned me why he had to obey my laws and who I was," Paul testified.
Paul testified that Berak refused to cooperate and then took off. Out of concern, he followed him.
The pursuit eventually made its way to the intersection of M-15 and Seymour Lake Road in Oakland County's Brandon Township. That is where deputy Overall was laying out those stop sticks - and prosecutors say Berak intentionally swerved to hit him.
A recording taken from Berak's phone will likely play a huge role in his first-degree murder trial. In the recording he's heard saying, 'I am Satan, but I am also God. I will [expletive] kill you, you understand? I will [expletive] kill you if you try to charge me with [expletive] driving too fast on the [expletive] road.'
Prosecutors say it proves premeditation, while defense attorneys say it doesn't prove anything and that it's unclear whether Berak saw the 50-year-old deputy the day before Thanksgiving of 2017, adding this is a case of perhaps gross negligence or maybe reckless driving.
That will, of course, be up to a jury to decide here in the Oakland County Circuit Court when they begin seeing and hearing what's expected to be two weeks' worth of evidence.
Berak faces life in prison if convicted.