CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) –
The judge in the trial of the former North Charleston police officer charged with a motorist’s shooting death said he will declare a mistrial after receiving a note the jury remains deadlocked.
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Michael Slager is charged in the April 4, 2015, shooting death of Walter Scott after a traffic stop. The jury was told to decide whether Slager is guilty of either murder or voluntary manslaughter or not guilty on the basis of self-defense.
Shortly after 3:30 p.m. Monday, Judge Clifton Newman told attorneys he had received another note from the jury stating they were unable to come to a unanimous decision.
After both prosecutor Scarlett Wilson and defense attorney Andy Savage thanked the jurors for their service, Newman dismissed jurors.
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That came after Newman gave them revised instructions in answer to questions they posed Friday afternoon and rejected a motion from defense two and a half hours later to revise those instructions.
Newman said the jury questions on Friday involved the difference between murder and voluntary manslaughter, the definition of malice aforethought, the length of time malice must be considered to exist before a jury can conclude a defendant can be guilty of manslaughter and whether the same guidelines concerning self-defense apply to police officers and private citizens.
Newman recessed the court after a hearing in which he denied the defense motion for a retrial. The prosecution argued against a mistrial. Newman said one of the notes from the jury indicated the jury was “undecided,” meaning they may not be deadlocked.
On the third day of deliberation Friday, the jury sent a note to Newman saying they were “beat” and wanted court to resume Monday at 9 a.m.
“We will have our questions at that time,” the note read.
This was after three notes sent within a half-hour period suggested one juror could not agree with the rest.
The note sent from that juror reads as follows:
I understand the position of the court, but I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict. I respect the position of my fellow jurors, some of which oppose my position. I expect those who hold opposing views to change their minds because I see them as good, honest people, therefore I regret to say we may never reach an unanimous decision. As you stated, we must follow the instructions you have given us, and the law. We all struggle with the death of a man and with all that has been put before us. I still cannot, without a reasonable doubt convict the defendant. At the same time, my heart does not want to have to tell the Scott family that the man that killed their son, brother and father is innocent. But with the choices, I cannot and will not change my mind.
“It’s just one juror that has the issues,” a note from the foreman, the spokesperson for the jury, said.
READ MORE: Cleveland19.com
Article Courtesy of WCSC-TV Charleston, SC and WOIO Cleveland 19 News
Picture Courtesy of Pool and Getty Images