Judge Declares Mistrial in Slager Case
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WOLO/WCIV) – The judge in the Michael Slager murder trial declared a mistrial after the 12-member panel selected to decide the fate of the former North Charleston police officer accused of shooting Walter Scott could not reach a consensus.
It was the third full day of deliberations.
The group broke for the weekend after telling Judge Clifton Newman they could not come to a unanimous decision only to then agree that a clarification on the law would help them.
At the time, the jury foreman, the only black member of the panel, said jurors were split 11-1 in favor of guilt.
It’s not clear whether they were considering Slager guilty of murder or the added charge of manslaughter.
Last week, the jury asked for the difference between passion and fear, what many considered to be a sign they were considering manslaughter or a self-defense finding.
The lone holdout wrote a letter to the judge on Friday, an unorthodox move since juries almost always communicate through the foreperson, saying he could not “in good conscience” vote for a guilty sentence but could not tell the Walter Scott family Slager was innocent in the fatal shooting.
Slager was charged with murder after cellphone video of the fatal shooting was released by Scott’s family.
Slager pulled Scott over for a broken taillight, and during that stop Scott ran. The defense contends there was a ground fight and Scott gained control of Slager’s Taser.
Prosecutors say Slager was in no danger because Scott was running from the officer at the time of the shooting. Both sides agree Scott was at least 17 feet away from Slager when he fired the first shot.