By Jack Duane, Bay Citizen

Johannes Mehserle has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter for shooting Oscar Grant early on New Year’s Day 2009.  The verdict means that the jury found that Mehserle had no homicidal intent when he shot Grant in the back as he lay prone on the Fruitvale station platform.

Instead, Mehserle is guilty of “criminal negligence,” according to the jury.

With the involuntary manslaughter charge, the jury is saying that he honestly did make a mistake,” said Neil Shouse, a criminal attorney in Burbank, Calif.

Mehserle’s sentencing will be presided over by Judge Robert Perry, who oversaw the murder trial in Los Angeles. At that hearing, Perry will decide whether to grant Mehserle probation.

In the unlikely event that happens, Mehserle could go to county jail for one year or even be released immediately.

If Perry denies Mehserle probation, the ex-BART officer will be sent to state prison. In that case, Mehserle will be sentenced for two crimes – involuntary manslaughter and personal use of a firearm.

The sentencing guidelines for involuntary manslaughter are two, three, or four years.

The guidelines for personal use of a firearm charge are three, four, or ten years.

So, if Mehserle is denied probation he will spend between five and 14 years in California state prison.