Charleston, SC (WLTX) - The mother Walter Scott, the man shot and killed by an ex-North Charleston police officer last year, said she heard her son groan in pain in the minutes prior to his death after she says he was struck by a taser.
Judy's Scott's at times emotional testimony closed the first full day of statements and witnesses before the jury in the trial of Michael Slager. Slager is the former North Charleston Police officer charged murder in the death of Scott, an unarmed man, in April of 2015.
Slager's defense maintains he killed Scott in self-defense.
Judy Scott was questioned by Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, the lead prosecutor in the case. Judy Scott said her son called her moments after he was pulled over by Slager for a tail light violation, and said she could tell something was wrong, and that he'd been stopped by police. "He sounded in distress," she testified.
She told jurors that at one point, she heard a man say "get on the ground and put your hands behind your back." Around that same time, she said Walter told her "they tasin' me," and that she "heard him groaning like he was in excruciating pain, a couple of times."
She then offered up a piece of advice. "I told him you know North Charleston policemen, so just do whatever they say."
She did not hear the fatal shots.
Moments after she left the witness stand, she broke down in tears, and audibly cried out. She was assisted by members of the court.
The day began with the jury being sworn in for the first time. Wlson began her opening statements saying Slager went too far.
Wilson told the jury that Slager acted with malice and forethought before he fired the eight shots. Five of those bullets hit Scott, killing him.
She said this was a crime of emotion and that Scott was no longer an immediate threat to Slager once he ran away.
When referring to what happened in the days after the incident Wilson said that Slager lied to investigators when he told them that Scott came after him. She also said that he staged the scene of the crime when he dropped the taser by Scott's body.
Wilson ended her opening argument saying, "Slager's first instinct...was to stage...It was wrong."
Andy Savage, Slager's lead defense attorney, began his argument saying that this is an "extraordinary case" and that freedom was the issue at hand.
"Slager is presumed to be innocent," Savage said.
He also mentioned that 98 percent of the traffic stops having to do with equipment failure that Slager made as an officer ended without Slager giving a ticket.
Savage ended saying Slager did not act with malice or forethought and that he was never able to pat down or frisk Scott, therefore he had no idea whether or not Scott was armed.
Testimonies began shortly after.
The court heard from Scott's son Walter Scott Jr., Scott's girlfriend Charlotte Jones, a family friend and Scott's neighbor Anthony Heyward.
Heyward traded Scott the Mercedes that had the broken brake light for Scott's truck.
For the latest, minute by minute updates on the trial be sure to follow News 19's Chuck Ringwalt on Twitter at @ChuckRingwalt.
Six white men, five white women and one black man are the primary panel of jurors that will decide Slager's fate. Two white men, two black woman, one white woman and one Hispanic woman were selected as alternates.
Testimony continues Friday morning. Wilson remarked that her team had made "good progress" in presenting their witnesses before court adjourned.
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