CLARKSTON, Mich. – The 22-year-old man accused of killing Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Overall was bound over for trial Monday after details were revealed during the preliminary hearing.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The live stream of the preliminary hearing includes graphic video and language. Be advised.
Christopher Joseph Berak was charged with first-degree premeditated homicide and murder of a peace officer. He was accused of leading deputies on a chase and deliberately hitting and killing Overall at the intersection of M-15 and Seymore Lake Road on Thanksgiving Day.
Overall was deploying stop sticks when he was struck.
Overall's widow, Sonja Overall, spoke about how the family has been doing since her husband's death.
"We're all trying to cope as best we can," she said. "This has not only affected me but the thousands that are mourning him between his coworkers, friends and his family."
Berak appears at preliminary hearing
Officer Scott Phelps took the stand and told the court he initiated a traffic stop after witnessing a Saturn traveling at a high rate of speed.
Phelps said the driver abruptly jumped out of the vehicle during the stop and identified Berak as the driver. Berak was issued a speeding ticket and was sent on his way.
Deputy Kenneth Paul was called to testify about the same vehicle which was later spotted at the Lapeer County Jail. The vehicle left the parking lot as Paul approached the Saturn.
Paul found the vehicle outside of the nearby Thumb Correctional Facility. The driver would not provide identification to the deputy and pulled away, according to testimony.
Another traffic stop was initiated, but the driver refused to give the deputy his identification. Paul said the driver would only identify himself as God. The vehicle peeled off and a pursuit was underway.
Dashcam video from the patrol car shows the Saturn leave the traffic stop and Overall can be seen getting hit in a later part of the video. The first part of the video is below:
Several videos of the crash were played during the court proceedings. Berak cried out as the video showed Overall being struck.
A detective with Computer Crimes Unit with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office took the stand to discuss evidence found on suspect’s phone.
An audio recording was found on Berak’s phone which was recorded after he was issued a speeding ticket. Listen to the audio below:
“I am the voice of the creator,” Berak can be heard in the audio recording. “This is a message for the court: I will kill anybody in the courtroom who touches me or approaches me in any manner that is aggressive.”
The audio recording gets increasingly religious and threatening.
“I sentence you to hell if you take any of these charges that you’re charging me for a ticket,” the recording continues. “If you charge me for a ticket for driving on the street that you paved on my planet, I will (expletive) kill you.”
Suspect claimed he was God
Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna said Berak was seen at the Lapeer County Jail and approached the intercom ifn the jail lobby, standing there without pushing the button.
Officials said they activated a camera with audio and heard the man saying that he was God and he had come to the jail to free one of his followers.
He allegedly told deputies at the nearby prison that he "has a claim on this land." He was on the phone with a Lapeer County 911 operator during these interactions and the operator said Berak claimed it's not fair to have his follower locked up due to a violation of man-made laws that they don't follow, according to police.
Officials said the man got upset that nobody was helping him remove his follower, so he hung up on the operator.