Jury can consider lesser charge of manslaughter in Walter Scott trail

Image: Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager Murder Trial Continues

Judge Clifton Newman speaks in court during the murder trial of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager at the Charleston County court on November 30, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. Pool / Getty Images

While the jury was visiting the scene of the shooting on Wednesday morning, Judge Clifton Newman told attorneys he would grant the prosecution’s request to let jurors consider manslaughter as well as murder.

South Carolina law defines murder as the unlawful taking of life with malice. In Slager’s case — because the prosecution is alleging no aggravating circumstances that could bring a death sentence — murder carries a penalty of 30 years to life.

The prosecution contends that by shooting Scott repeatedly in the back as the motorist tried to run away, Slager showed evidence of malice.


Defense Rests in Scott Trail, Jurors to Visit Crime Scene

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another without malice, punishable by two to 30 years in prison.

Defense attorney Andy Savage did not object in court to the addition of the lesser charge.

After hearing from 55 witnesses, the jurors were taken to the crime scene Wednesday. The vacant lot in North Charleston was the last step before closing arguments Wednesday afternoon in the month-long trial.

IMAGE: Michael Slager

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