MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — As the Milwaukee community continues to mourn the loss of officer Peter Jerving, many are expressing outrage his alleged killer was allowed to walk free from a hit-and-run case the day before.

Some people have gone so far as to publicly post the judge’s contact information, but the District Attorney’s office told us that case was handled appropriately. And a legal expert agrees.

CBS 58 secured courtroom transcripts of that hearing to try to answer some of those questions. The misdemeanor hit-and-run charge was relatively minor, and 19-year-old Terrell Thompson had no criminal record to indicate he was a threat.

The DA’s office told us it’s ‘painfully ironic’ that just hours later Thompson allegedly shot and killed Officer Jerving.

According to the transcript, Thompson told the court Monday, “I want to apologize about the whole situation, and it was just a life learning lesson.”

It’s one of the last things Thompson said publicly before he allegedly shot and killed Jerving early Tuesday morning. Thompson was also shot and died at the scene.

Thompson was at the hearing Monday to enter a guilty plea for a hit-and-run case. In Jan. 2021 he allegedly ran a red light and hit a car, then ran away. He later returned to the scene with his mother.

Before he was sentenced, the state told the judge Thompson had no criminal record as a juvenile or adult, and said probation was a good idea to “ensure public safety and to deter any future criminal behavior.”

Thompson’s attorney then told the judge he was pursuing his GED and was working three jobs.

Thompson had already spent five days in jail. His attorney said, “I also think that has had a significant impact on his thinking.”

Legal expert Julius Kim, an attorney with Kim & LaVoy, said, “The system, in this particular case, did everything it was supposed to do. In that it addressed the hit-and-run case, a misdemeanor hit-and-run case. And I thought the disposition was not only fair, but appropriate given Mr. Thompson’s age at the time of the incident, his lack of a prior record, etc.”

Thompson’s attorney later added, “I think that sitting in jail, coming to this courtroom, and of course, facing the court with a potential six-month jail sentence sitting over his head is significant deterrence.”

The judge agreed with the state’s recommendation, saying “I will impose and stay 120 days in the House of Corrections with Huber for work, five days credit, one year probation.” That allowed Thompson to walk free.

Kim said, “People are looking for someone to blame or something to blame. But sometimes you just can’t predict human behavior. Sometimes things happen in the spur of the moment, heat of the moment, that no one can predict. And this might be one of those situations.”

Hours later Monday night Thompson was allegedly involved in a robbery. Early Tuesday morning Officer Jerving was dispatched to check out a potential suspect. That call ended with the death of both Jerving and Thompson.

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