One month after a state jury failed to reach a verdict in Walter Scott's death, the process for finding the next panel to consider the case will begin.
Sheriff's deputies will fan out Jan. 18 throughout Charleston County to deliver 600 jury duty summonses. The process will be similar to the one that brought in the 12 jurors whose indecision in former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager's murder case prompted a mistrial last month.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman issued an order Friday that laid out those initial procedures.
Slager pulled over Scott's car April 4, 2015, for a broken brake light. He chased Scott when the 50-year-old motorist started running.
The two got into a struggle, and Slager said Scott took his Taser and tried to use it against him. That's when he decided, he said, to pull his pistol and open fire.
But an eyewitness video showed Scott turning and running away as Slager fired eight times when Scott was at least 17 feet away. Five bullets hit Scott from behind. He died at the scene.
For more than a month, the previous dozen jurors heard testimony inside a Charleston courthouse. But during their four days of deliberations, many jurors couldn't decide if Slager should be convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter, or be acquitted on all charges. Some had decided on a manslaughter conviction, and others wanted to find Slager not guilty.
Newman declared a deadlock and ordered a mistrial.
Federal authorities planned to try Slager in a separate civil rights proceeding in early May, but the state's retrial was set for March 1. In each proceeding, he would face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.
In his order Friday, Newman said the pool of 600 prospective jurors will be chosen randomly. The Clerk of Court can send summonses by mail to anyone who cannot be found in person by sheriff's deputies, the judge said. The deputies must follow up and make sure the potential jurors complete questionnaires and send the forms back to the clerk.
Any potential jurors who are 65 years old or older, or those who served on the grand jury that indicted Slager, may be excused from service immediately. The judge will weigh any other excuses given by the jurors.
Their answers on the questionnaires will help attorneys determine which jurors they want to exclude, or strike, during the selection process at the trial's start.