Attorneys for the former North Charleston police officer who shot Walter Scott said Wednesday that an expert had found new evidence on the Taser that has become a focal point for the defense.
There is no telling, though, what the fibers discovered on Michael Slager’s stun gun might mean. The defense team asked a judge in a motion Wednesday to approve more time for the expert to examine the device while state investigators watch.
Slager’s lawyers have said that the officer and Scott struggled over control of the Taser after Scott ran from a traffic stop. Scott managed to grab it, the attorneys have said, before separating himself from the scuffle and continuing to flee. After the Taser fell to the ground, Slager shot Scott five times from behind.
The end of the fight and the deadly shooting on April 4 were captured on a bystander’s cellphone video. Slager was fired and jailed on a murder charge after the footage emerged.
Forensics experts from the State Law Enforcement Division found traces of DNA from both men on the Taser, a sign that Slager’s defense lawyers say indicates a struggle over the device. But the attorneys also faulted SLED’s examination methods, which failed to pinpoint where exactly the evidence was on the gun.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman last month ordered SLED to send the Taser to an outside lab, WD Forensics, hired by the defense and approved a two-week window in early February for the testing to be done.
An expert there, Rick Wyant, found the “trace evidence” — fibers — soon after getting the Taser and promptly stopped all testing, Wednesday’s motion stated.
In the filing, Slager’s attorneys from Shaun Kent’s law firm in Manning and Andy Savage’s office in Charleston asked for the testing period to be extended to 30 or 45 days. SLED has agreed to observe Wyant examine, remove and test the fibers, and the defense needs more time to arrange that, the motion stated.
Newman did not immediately rule on the request.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 843-937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.