By Peter Dujardin
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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A former Newport News police officer was sentenced Friday to 6 years in prison in the killing of a man in his home three years ago.
Circuit Court Judge Margaret Poles Spencer handed down the sentence against former Police Sgt. Alvin Trevor Pearson in the shooting death of 43-year-old Henry K. “Hank” Berry III on Dec. 27, 2019.
Pearson shot Berry during a struggle over a Taser after four officers chased him into his Oyster Point apartment without a warrant to arrest him on a charge of abusing the city’s 911 system. Berry had made a series of calls that day to police to inquire about the well-being of his 9-year-old son.
Officer-worn body cameras captured what happened next. When Berry tried to close the door on the officers, the officers pushed their way inside and a struggle ensued.
Pearson, 36, was sentenced to five years of active time on a count of voluntary manslaughter and another year to serve on a misdemeanor trespassing count. The former officer was immediately remanded into sheriff’s office custody.
Pearson faced a maximum of 11 years behind bars to serve on the two charges.
But discretionary sentencing guidelines — which take into account a defendant’s criminal record and other factors — called for a sentence of about 2 to 5 years.
Spencer went slightly above the high end of those guidelines.
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