Charleston, SC (WLTX) - A jury of twelve is now deliberating the fate of Michael Slager, the ex-police officer on trial for shooting and kiilling Walter Scott last year.
The group began considering the case around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday. They decided to go home for the night a little over an hour later, and will resume in the morning.
Slager, a former North Charleston police officer, shot and killed Walter Scott, 50, following a traffic stop. The shooting was captured on cell phone video.
Jurors will have two charges to consider: murder or voluntary manslaughter. For murder, the jury will have to believe Slager acted with malice; for manslaughter, they do not. The penalties are also different, with murder carrying at least a 30 year sentence, while manslaughter has a maximum of 30 years, but could go as low as two years.
The day began with the jury going to visit the crime scene. No media was allowed to visit, and neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys could make any statements to the panel.
At the beginning of the day, jurors were able to go to the scene where the shooting took place. Judge Clifton Newman called it a “jury view” and asked that jurors not deliberate or discuss the facts of the case while out there.
When they returned, another charge of voluntary manslaughter was introduced.
Closing arguments began with the defense. Andy Savage came out strongly against the media, saying that news organizations gave a false narrative of what took place on April 4, 2015.
Savage also explained that Slager acted out of self-defense and operated within his training.
When it came to the way South Carolina Law Enforcement agents treated the case, Savage says they did not present all of the evidence in trial.
“They are controlled by the solicitor, not Mr. Slager,” says Savage. “Yet they have evidence that Slager was tased, they didn’t tell you that. I guess [SLED] thought that you would think that if it’s not on the video it didn’t happen.”
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson painted a different story during her closing. She told jurors that Slager should be accountable for his actions and said if someone, who was not in law enforcement, were in his shoes, there would be no question.
“Would there be this delay to interview?” asks Wilson. “Would there be this talk about selective memory or maybe they just don’t have the details right, maybe they didn’t realize that the person dropped the taser or the knife, or whatever? Whould there have been all that talk by law enforcement? No.”
Wilson questioned if Slager really struggled during the ground fight with Scott.
“His badge is still attached, his radio is still attached, his nameplate is still attached and look right there, Walter Scott's driver's license is still tucked very nicely right there in his belt,” says Wilson pointing to a picture taken of Slager after the shooting. “That is not the sign of a violent, throw down, life-threatening fight.”
Jurors will return to continue deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.