Trial begins for suspect charged in death of Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Overall

Posted at 1:51 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 13:51:56-04

(WXYZ) — The trial for the suspect charged in the death of Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Overall began on Wednesday.

Christopher Berak, 22, is charged with first degree murder and murder of a peace officer. A judge last year found he was competent to stand trial.

Overall was killed on Thanksgiving morning in 2017.

Early Thanksgiving Day, Lapeer County Sheriff deputies began pursuing Berak after he went to their jail, claiming to be God.

After Berak left the jail, Lapeer County Sheriff Deputy Kenneth Paul says he and another deputy attempted to get Berak's information and find out more about him and why he'd come to their jail.

Berak stopped twice for Deputy Paul, but drove off each time without giving him any information.

Deputy Paul says they activated their overhead lights but not their sirens and continued to pursue Berak.

Once in Oakland County, as they approached the intersection of M15 and Seymore Lake Road, Deputy Paul says he could see an Oakland County Sheriff's vehicle in the distance and he slowed up.

Paul says he could see Berak, who had not been driving recklessly, now swerve and hit Deputy Overall.

Overall, a well-respected, veteran member of law enforcement, died from his injuries.

It wasn't until Berak spotted Deputy Overall on the side of the road that he steered to hit him, said Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor David Hutson during Berak's preliminary examination Monday.

But Stephen Rabaut, Berak's defense attorney, said his client had no intention on killing the deputy.

Rabaut said it's reasonable to think Berak was trying to avoid the stop sticks in the road, and that there may be a case for reckless driving causing death.