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LIVE BLOG / DAY 19
3:35 p.m. Judge Clifton Newman brought the jury in and declared a mistrial after receiving a note that they are unable to come to a unanimous decision.
3:30 p.m. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson responds to defense attorney Andy Savage's comments. She says that it's "common sense" that any charge in South Carolina is a lesser charge than murder.
"We think the defense is generalizing and overstating," she said.
Judge Clifton Newman says that the request for further changes is not since the jury resumed deliberations two and a half hours ago. He asks why there there were no objections at 12:45 p.m.
He decides there is no further need to bring the jury out for additional instructions at this time. He resumes recess until jury makes a decision or declares they are deadlocked.
3 p.m. After a break that lasted about two hours, defense attorney Andy Savage addressed the court
Savage has an issue with telling the jury that manslaughter is a "lesser" charge. He says manslaughter is the most serious classification for a felony offense in South Carolina, other than murder which is unclassified, he says.
12:45 p.m. After a break and discussing a few additional things with the attorneys, Judge Clifton Newman brought in the jury back in for the first time since Friday to answer their questions. He merged proposals from both the prosecution and the defense attorneys to answer their questions.
On why manslaughter was included, Newman said that there was sufficient evident for the lesser charge, and that it is standard for a lesser charge to be included.
Newman then explained the difference between manslaughter and murder, saying that manslaughter is essentially an unlawful killing without the malice needed for murder.
"You may not find the defendant guilty... (of either charge) unless you find state has proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," he added.
After answering their questions, Newman dismissed the jury and said he would not take anything from them until 2 p.m. after a recess.
Noon. "Essentially I'm going to give what everyone requested," Judge Newman said after hearing both sides. He then declared a 10-minute break while the prosecutors and defense attorneys work on crafting compromises to the jury's questions. Newman will merge both into one charge.
11:45 a.m. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson speaks about the defense's answers to the jury's questions. She is okay with some of the answers, but wants some language changed. She said that she thinks Judge Newman should answer six questions asked by the jury.
Attorney Miller Shealy, who has now joined the defense team, speaks for the defense.
11:30 a.m. Attorneys return to the courtroom.
"I've received proposals from both sides," Judge Clifton Newman said. He asked if lawyers have reviewed each other's proposals for answers to the jury's questions. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said they hadn't reviewed them thoroughly.
10:15 a.m. Judge Clifton Newman enters the courtroom and begins discussing a note from jurors that indicates some jurors are still having issues. The jurors have questions about why manslaughter was offered and what is meant by "imminent danger."
Defense attorney Andy Savage moves for a mistrial. "The note that was received on Friday is unequivocal," Savage says. Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson contends that the court has already ruled on the mistrial and that the jury should be given answers to their questions. "They are clearly asking for help and help is available," Wilson said.
"The court cannot and should not declare a mistrial" if the jury is still deliberating and is not deadlocked, Judge Clifton Newman said. "This jury, through its foreperson, indicated that they thought further explanation of law would be beneficial." Judge Newman told counsel that the note he received from jurors says that the majority are still undecided. "And that's what deliberations are all about," Newman said.
Newman denied the defense motion for a mistrial, saying he wanted to give counsel on both sides the opportunity to respond to jurors' questions. "They've posed questions that I believe can be answered," Newman said.
The court is now in recess for 15-20 minutes to provide attorneys a chance to formulate responses to the jury's questions.
9 a.m. After a weekend break, jurors in the Michael Slager murder trial were set to resume deliberating at 9 a.m.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 18
5:35 p.m. The jury wants to keep deliberating in the murder trial of Michael Slager.
The jury foreperson told the judge about the jury's request Friday evening.
The request came an hour after the jury told the judge that they were deadlocked in reaching an unanimous verdict.
The jury faces three options: a guilty verdict on murder or voluntary manslaughter, or an acquittal. If they cannot unanimously agree on either, the jury would be hung, and a mistrial would be declared.
"The mere fact that it's taken three days, we know there has to have been some numerical division at some point," said Circuit Judge Clifton Newman.
The judge also asked the jury to tell him if they want further explanation of something that they must send a note saying what they want explained.
Defense attorney Andy Savage moved again for a mistrial after the jury left.
The court is now in recess.
5 p.m. Defense attorney Andy Savage officially requested a mistrial in the murder trial of Michael Slager.
The jury foreman told the judge that "an explanation of the law will help us reach a unanimous verdict."
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson requested that the judge provide jurors with the definition of "passion."
"If this jury is able to reach a verdict through some further explanation," Wilson said, "we think it's important that we try."
A note from the jury indicated that 11 jurors are in favor of a guilty verdict, while one lone juror is not.
A unanimous verdict is required, otherwise a mistrial can be declared.
The judge has called for a recess to "ponder."
4:20 p.m. Judge says he's received a long note from one juror saying he "cannot consider a guilty verdict."
"I still cannot without a reasonable doubt convict the defendant," the juror writes. "I cannot and will not change my mind." The judge sends the clerk to request that the jury foreperson let him know if the jurors are "hopelessly deadlocked."
4:10 p.m. The jury has returned to the courtroom for the second time today after first coming back with a note indicating that they were deadlocked and being sent back out by the judge to try again at deliberating.
2:30 p.m. After beginning deliberations around 9:30 a.m., jurors returned to the courtroom around 1:45 p.m. and handed the judge two notes: one asking for Feidin Santana's testimony, the other saying "jurors will not be able to come to consensus."
The jury was then sent out to talk about whether they wanted Santana's testimony. They returned and handed the judge a note that read: "At this point we don't need to hear. If we listen, it will not change based on they (sic) juror."
The prosecution and the defense then agreed that jurors should be given an Allen Charge, which would urge them to try again to reach a verdict. The judge brought the jury back in and sent them out to deliberate again.
"You should carefully consider and respect the opinions of each other and reevaluate your position," Judge Clifton Newman said. "If you do not agree on a verdict, I must declare a mistrial."
The jury then left the courtroom to resume deliberations.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 17
3:30 p.m. After the jury had been deliberating for about 5.5 hours today, everyone (except the jury) was called back to the courtroom, where Judge Clifton Newman said he had two notes from the jury: one asking for a transcript of Michael Slager's testimony, and the other requesting a transcript of State Law Enforcement Division Agent Angela Peterson, lead investigator on the case. Peterson said in court that this was her first big murder investigation.
Neither the state nor the defense objected, so the judge said he would grant the request. The transcripts will be emailed to the court clerk to print for the jury.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 16
7 p.m. One hour into deliberations, the jurors said they wanted to go home. Judge Clifton Newman let them leave. They will return at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
5:30 p.m. The judge says the jury will start deliberations tonight and go as long as they want to go. He thanks the six alternates for their service and releases them. Newman notes that one juror is celebrating her birthday today and has been selected as the faculty member of the year at the Medical University. She's getting an award Dec. 8. Those in courtroom clap for her.
5 p.m. Judge Clifton Newman is reading the deliberation instructions to the jury.
4:45 p.m. "That badge is supposed to be a shield, not a sword," Wilson says. "We trust you to do the right thing. SLED charged it. I indicted it. It’s time for you to give it its proper name...
"Our community, our courtroom can only have one fountain for justice. It's time for Michael Slager to take his drink."
Wilson has concluded her closing argument and the court is taking a 10 minute break.
4:15 p.m. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson goes over the evidence that the jury should consider during deliberations and shows the video that combines audio and videos.
Wilson acknowledges Scott's faults, but says, he didn't deserve to die.
"When he gets stopped (by Slager), what’s he do?" she says. "He’s such a thug that he calls his girlfriend that he’s lived with 6 years and then he calls his mother because he knows he’s going to jail."
Slager wasn't disheveled after the two fought, she says.
“I’m not going to talk to you all afternoon about what kind of shirt stays Mr. Slager had on. That’s a colossal waste of time.”
3:15 p.m. After a short break, court reconvenes to hear Solicitor Scarlett Wilson's closing argument.
"I'm not exactly sure if Mr. Savage was interested in talking to you (jury) or those people out there," she says. Savage pointed to the media and State Law Enforcement Division agents in the courtroom several times in his closing.
Wilson points out that the initial investigation on April 4, 2015, was not a murder investigation because "They bought everything (Slager) said that day, hook, line, and sinker. And I don’t have a problem with that, but the irony is rich that Mr. Savage bashed so many people about what they did and they didn’t do, because they believed (Slager). Until they didn’t. Until they knew better."
1:30 p.m. Defense lawyer Andy Savage starts his closing statement by agreeing with Wilson's praise of the jury, then talks about how the media has provided a "false narrative" by painting the incident as a white police officer shooting a black motorist.
"Mr. Scott was shot for what he did on April 4," he says.
1:15 p.m. Court reconvenes for closing arguments. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is talking to the jury about the charge.
Wilson defines murder and manslaughter charges and tells jury, ""The facts are yours."
"Y'all have been remarkably alert," he says. "Y'all have been remarkably attentive…We know that you can do this. You can get it right."
10 a.m. After hearing arguments from lawyers on Tuesday, Judge Clifton Newman rules that jurors will be allowed to visit the location where Walter Scott was fatally shot. He swears in court officials who will accompany them, warns everyone not to discuss the case, and sends them to North Charleston.
After they leave, the defense team moves for a directed verdict of not guilty, which is typical in such a case. They argue that there was no malice in the shooting, while prosecutors say shooting a man eight times in the back is malice. Newman denies the motion.
The judge then says he finds sufficient evidence to allow the jury also to consider voluntary manslaughter, which carries a sentence of 2 to 30 years. Murder is punishable by 30 years to life in jail.
10:15 a.m. Court recesses until 1 p.m., when closing arguments will begin.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 15
5:40 p.m. The judge orders a half-hour recess. Attorneys will next argue about jury charges, or the instructions that jurors will get on the law for their deliberations.
5:30 p.m. The presiding judge said he will think overnight about approving the jury's visit to the shooting site. "We have video … that can give the jury a much better view than what they otherwise” might have in another case," he said.
5:10 p.m. After 23 witnesses, the defense rested its case.
5 p.m. Sgt. Darryl Allen further testified about Michael Slager's reputation as an officer. "He was the kind of person who could just bridge the gap, communicate," he said. "He did an outstanding job."
4:50 p.m. North Charleston Sgt. Charity Prosser started testimony on performance reviews of Michael Slager, which she said were positive. Slager had a knack for putting citizens at ease and guiding them, she said.
"Did he have a reputation as a hothead?" she was asked.
"Oh, no," she said.
4:45 p.m. Detective Charlie Benton began testifying about Michael Slager's reputation as a police officer. "He was known as being someone with a very calm demeanor," Benton said, " someone with level-headedness."
"I've never heard anyone ... speak ill of him," he said.
4:10 p.m. Former Capt. Joe Stephens, now retired from the North Charleston Police Department, took the witness stand.
Stephens echoed earlier testimony that shootings can affect one's memory of the episode. Prosecutors questioned whether Stephens testified for the defense because of a friendly connection with lead defense attorney Andy Savage. He said he was testifying because of his former role at the Police Department.
"(Slager) was my cop," Stephens said. "I asked him to go out there every day to put his life on the line. I’m responsible for him, until I’m not."
4 p.m. Forensic psychiatrist Charles Morgan continued to testify, saying that a "Swiss cheese" memory of a traumatic episode is normal.
2 p.m. Charles Morgan, a forensic psychiatrist and University of New Haven (Conn.) criminal justice professor, took the witness stand for the defense. He researches how stress affects decision-making and memory, and he teaches students hoping to become intelligence officers.
Morgan often testifies for the prosecution or the defense in criminal cases. He said he was also working in the Army court martial of Bowe Bergdahl, who faces desertion charges.
"When there’s holes in people’s perception … it’s the norm,” he testified. “It’s exactly what we see in studies.”
His testimony was designed to tell jurors that Michael Slager had no time to rethink his decision to open fire on Walter Scott.
"Under stress," Morgan said, "you don’t have time to second-guess things when you’re operating on that level.
"That behavior is pretty automatic."
1 p.m. Slager said he was happy on April 4 because the next day was Easter and he was going to be off for three days.
Now, he said, crying, "My family has been destroyed by this. Scott's family has been destroyed by this. It's horrible."
12:30 p.m. On cross-examination, Deputy Solicitor Bruce DuRant shows the bystander's video again, asking Slager about the details of the moments before the shooting.
When Slager has problems recalling details, DuRant points out that Slager has a clear recollection of the day except for events that are "bad for you."
"He never at any point during this donnybrook had any kind of tactical advantage over you at all. You described it as him wiggling, trying to get away," DuRant said.
"Correct, he was," Slager answered.
He said he made the decision to use deadly force because Scott "never stopped."
10:30 a.m. (Shortly after Michael Slager took the stand, the livefeed of the trial went out. Judge Clifton Newman took a break about 10:30 a.m. for county employees to try to fix the feed, which was restored at 10:40 a.m.)
On the witness stand, Slager gave details about the traffic stop that ended with the fatal shooting of Walter Scott. He talked about the traffic stop for a broken tail light, and what he was thinking when Scott ran.
"Mr. Scott must have been running for a certain reason," he said.
When Scott went down the first time, Slager thought he had hit Scott with the Taser, he said.
"I thought everything was going to be good," he said, but when he approached Scott to handcuff him, Scott started fighting back and eventually seized the officer's stun gun.
"I saw that Taser coming at me and I knew I was in trouble," he said, his voice cracking. "I knew I was overpowered."
As Slager spoke, his divorced parents, with Slager's wife Jamie sitting between them, listened intently, occasionally wiping away tears.
"I was in total fear that Mr. Scott didn't stop and continued to come towards me," he said.
"At that time, I pulled my firearm (from the holster) and I pulled the trigger," he said. "I fired until the threat was stopped like I am trained to do."
9:30 a.m. Before the jury is brought in, Judge Clifton Newman is talking to defendant Michael Slager about his right to testify. Slager is expected to be the first witness on the stand today, the 55th witness overall in the trial.
Asked if he wishes to testify, Slager says, "I do."
The judge calls for the jury to enter the room.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 14
4:10 p.m. Court ended for the day. The trial will resume early Tuesday with Michael Slager's testimony.
4 p.m. Defense attorney Andy Savage tells the judge that next witness will be the defendant, Michael Slager. But because of the late hour, it likely won't happen today.
3:30 p.m. North Charleston police Lt. Walter Humphries continued testimony, mainly relating to training.
He said 1.49 seconds, the time it took for Michael Slager to pull his pistol and start shooting at Walter Scott, is a "good" time for drawing the weapon. During that time, Scott had distanced himself from the officer by 17 or 18 feet, experts have estimated.
Addressing why Slager was captured on video picking up his Taser and dropping it near Scott's body, Humphries said it's common for officers to secure loose weapons at a crime scene. Slager probably realized that a holster is a safer place for the Taser than next to a suspect, Humphries said, so the officer picked it up again.
“I would say it’s autopilot more than anything,” he said. “Officers have this weird thing about not wanting to leave a weapon lying around.”
2 p.m. Attorneys said they plan to email proposed jury deliberation instructions at the end of the day. Read more about that issue here: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/with-deliberations-in-sight-michael-slager-trial-could-hinge-on/article_f21cfb68-b314-11e6-aab3-631dfaa322a0.html
The defense called Lt. Walter Humphries, the fourth North Charleston police officer to testify today.
12:30 p.m. Just before noon, Lt. Victor Buskirk of the North Charleston Police Department became the third officer to testify today. He his testimony regarding department training and how stress can affect an officer corroborates the two earlier witnesses.
Buskirk agrees that officers are trained to handcuff suspects after shooting, and that they can forget details or recall them incorrectly after a stressful incident.
"We are human too,” Buskirk says.
11:30 a.m. Jellico's testimony is very similar to that of Dandridge, who went before him this morning. Both talked about department policy, when an officer gets flagged as having a problem with use of force, how an officer feels after a shooting.
10:30 a.m. Dandridge testified that it's not unjustified to shoot a man in back at 18, 20 or 30 feet "if it is needed."
Court takes a short break after he finishes testifying, and the next witness to take the stand is Jerry Jellico, also of the North Charleston Police Department.
9:15 a.m. First witness called today by defense attorney Andy Savage is North Charleston Police Officer Jason Dandridge.
Savage expects to call about 10 more witnesses this week before wrapping up his case by week's end.
Also, early this week, defense lawyers and prosecutors will tell the judge what the jury's deliberation instructions should entail. The defense is expected to say that certain decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court apply to Slager's predicament and that the jury must fill his shoes in the moment he decided to open fire on Scott.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 12:
12:15 p.m. Presiding Judge Clifton Newman dismissed the jury until 9 a.m. Monday, cautioning members not to discuss the case or read news accounts of the trial.
Defense attorney Donald McCune said the defense likely would want the jury to view the shooting site in person next week.
"We think it would help the jury to see with their own eyes," McCune said.
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson opposed the move.
"It's just not worth it in this case given all the information" that jurors already have, Wilson said.
Newman said that he's not opposed to the visit but that he will think about it over turkey.
12:10 p.m. On cross-examination, 9th Circuit Scarlett Wilson had defense expert Eugene Liscio, who re-created the Walter Scott scene through 3-D imaging, measure out the distances at which Michael Slager shot at Scott, starting at 18 feet.
"Let’s go to 37 feet," Wilson said, referring to an approximate distance Scott was when the last shot was fired.
Liscio stood in the gallery seating and Wilson near the jury box, both holding an end of the measuring tape. It was the third time in the trial that the prosecution pulled out the tool.
"It doesn’t take technology to see that, correct?" Wilson said. "This is real life. This is 37 feet in real life."
But defense attorney Donald McCune had Liscio do the same display at 27 inches, the estimated distance that separated the men as Slager pulled out his gun.
"Twenty-seven inches is 27 inches, right?" McCune said.
The witness agreed.
Noon: Defense expert Eugene Liscio reiterates on cross-examination that considering the Taser's motion, it was unlikely that Michael Slager had it because the officer's arms were not in typical throwing positions in the eyewitness video. Walter Scott's right arm, meanwhile, was seen in the footage moving downward, which is more consistent with the Taser's motion.
"The physical evidence points back to it being thrown," Liscio said.
11:45 a.m. After defense expert Eugene Liscio indicated that Walter Scott likely had Michael Slager's Taser, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson pointed out that it would be important to see from the video whether anyone was actually captured getting shocked with the device.
But the eyewitness footage doesn't show it.
"If it doesn’t show it on the video," Liscio said, "then you can’t see it."
11:30 a.m. Prosecutors asked that defense expert Eugene Liscio be barred from opining about the location of Michael Slager's Taser at the end of the confrontation with Walter Scott. The prosecution's motion was denied until the judge could hear some of the testimony in question.
Liscio showed a 360-degree view of the point where Slager and Scott separate. Using computer software, he hovered over the Taser and combined that view with the bystander's video of the shooting. The motion of the Taser, which was seen bouncing behind Slager, isn't consistent with where the officer's hands were at the time the stun gun appears moving on the footage, Liscio said.
11 a.m. Jurors got a 3-D computer-generated glimpse at officer Michael Slager's perspective in the Walter Scott shooting. Crime-scene reconstruction expert Eugene Liscio showed an image that put the view in Slager's shoes, depicting him taking aim at a figure representing Scott, who is running somewhat sideways rather than straight away from Slager.
Liscio estimated the distance between the men when the first shot was fired to have been about 18 feet. A prosecution expert had estimated 17 feet.
10:30 a.m. Crime-scene reconstruction expert Eugene Liscio immersed courtroom viewers in a 3-D rendering from the spot where Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott's car to the site of the shooting. The computer technology allows observers to pick any point and view the scene from that perspective in three dimensions.
9:45 a.m. Crime-scene reconstruction expert Eugene Liscio took the stand, saying he used to work for Boeing on failure investigations.
Liscio uses various methods — including 3-D imaging, videos and still photographs — to reconstruct scenes and depicted distances involved.
He explained to jurors his "photogrammetry" techniques, or the process of taking measurements from photographs.
Combining that process with laser scanning, he said, allows someone to pick a point at a scene and see what it's like to be in that position.
“It’s very visual," he said. "It provides you with a different view and a different perspective.”
9:15 a.m. Defense attorneys for Michael Slager said crime-scene mapper Eugene Liscio of Toronto will testify starting about 9:30 a.m. and lasting about two hours. Any challenges to his testimony by prosecutors will not happen before he takes the stand.
Defense attorney Donald McCune said a brief "matter of law" would likely pop up toward the end of Liscio's testimony.
Liscio runs AI2-3D, a company that specializes in forensic mapping, analysis and three-dimensional reconstruction of scenes. He has done animations and models for true crime shows "Dateline" on NBC and "48 Hours" on CBS.
Earlier this week, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson indicated that she also would raise legal questions about the expert's work in Walter Scott's shooting death, though she did not offer specifics.
Andy Savage, Slager's lead defense attorney, said earlier this week that Liscio would tell jurors about FARO scanners, the brand of devices commonly used to take intricate measurements of scenes. The State Law Enforcement Division employed the pricey equipment to survey the scene of Scott's death weeks after the shooting. Its agents had aborted an attempt on the day of the shooting under the threat of rain.
But SLED's FARO measurements were wrong, a private contractor hired by the prosecution to map out the scene testified earlier in Slager's trial. The expert, Bill Williams of Georgetown County, sized up the scene using his own methods and showed the results to the jury in diagrams, an animation and a slideshow.
6 p.m. Dr. Darrin Porcher, a criminal justice professor, was the final witness for the day. He testified that Slager followed policy in Taser use.
At 6 p.m. the trial concluded for the day, to start again for a half day at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
5:15 p.m. Eddie Driggers, North Charleston chief of police, concluded his testimony after being questioned by the prosecution.
Dr. Darrin Porcher, the fifth witness of the day, took the stand. Porcher works as criminal justice professor in New York City. He's also a retired lieutenant with the New York Police Dept and a retired commissioned officer with the U.S. Army.
4:30 p.m. North Charleston chief of police Eddie Driggers said that Slager's actions before shooting Scott appear to have complied with department policy. The prosecution objected, saying that the defense was leading the witness. The objection is sustained and the judged barred further opinion from Driggers on whether Slager followed rules. Judge Newman said some issues should be left for the jury.
3:30 p.m. The prosecution challenged the relevancy of questioning defense witness Eddie Driggers, North Charleston chief of police, on policies. The judge ruled in favor of the defense, but cautioned them.
"The department is not on trial, but Mr. Slager is," he said.
3 p.m. Court resumed around 2:45 p.m., 40 minutes later than planned. North Charleston Police Dept. Sgt. Ronald Webb was on the stand for about 10 more minutes before concluding his testimony.
Today's fourth witness is brought to the stand, Eddie Driggers, North Charleston chief of police. Driggers has a cold, and therefore is speaking with a raspy voice. In January, he will have served as chief for four years.
12:30 p.m. North Charleston Police Department Sgt. Ronald Webb is the third witness for the day. Slager's supervisor was not working for the department the day of the shooting, but was working a part-time job in uniform. He was on his way home when he heard the call on the radio and decided to respond because he thought it unusual that Slager was requesting a fellow officer to "step it up."
State objects to Webb talking about what he did the day of the shooting, saying it's hearsay.
11:30 a.m. With jury out, Owens testifies about effects of chronic cocaine use and "excited delirium," but Judge Clifton Newman rules that testimony would about the drug's effects on Walter Scott would be speculative and disallows it. The jury is coming back in to hear Owens talk about drugs in Scott's system. Scott's toxicology results reveal a "relatively low" level of cocaine, Owens said. He said Scott likely used cocaine six to 12 hours before death.
10:30 a.m. Thomas Owens, a forensic pathologist from Charlotte, testifies that the photos of the injuries to Walter Scott's hands are consistent with a struggle.
9:30 a.m. William Schneck, the first of three expert witnesses expected to testify in the 12th day of the trial, takes the stand to talk about the process involved in his examination of fibers and paint particles found on the Taser.
Schneck determined that yellow paint on the Taser and on Walter Scott's cellphone came from the yellow road near the crime scene.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 11:
4:15 p.m. Family law attorney Amanda Haselden continued to testify as an expert on Walter Scott's child support case. She was allowed to offer her opinion over prosecutors' objection that labeled her testimony as inadmissible and irrelevant character evidence.
The defense argued that the prosecution had brought up Scott's court case at the trial's beginning and should be permitted to address it.
The judge allowed it.
Haselden said that once Scott's case went to court, a judge could approve actions to keep him out of jail.
But the place where he would held before that, prosecutors noted on cross-examination, is the jail.
3:40 p.m. Amanda Haselden, a Charleston attorney specializing in family court case, took the witness stand to testify about child support. Walter Scott owed thousands of dollars in back child support when he died. He had a warrant out for his arrest.
The defense hoped to rebut a contention by 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson conveyed during opening statements that Scott feared going to "debtor's prison" when he ran from North Charleston officer Michael Slager. Haselden said that there is no such thing and that anyone arrested would have chance to plead his case. There are several ways people can avoid a court contempt conviction that would send them to jail for not paying child support.
"You cannot be held in contempt if you cannot pay," she said. "It has to be a willful violation."
3 p.m. Chief Deputy Solicitor Bruce DuRant cross-examined Mark Kroll, an expert on Tasers and electric shock who was hired by the defense.
DuRant, as prosecutors have done with every witness who has suggested Walter Scott could have used a Taser against Michael Slager, questioned when the device would have been effective at several feet away. Slager's Taser at that point in the confrontation with Scott would have been effective only in "drive-stun" mode, which delivers a shock in direct contact with a person.
As someone who has been shocked with a Taser before, though, Kroll said he still would have been scared of it.
"You can’t electrically shock me," he said. "It’s a psychological shock."
1:30 p.m. Mark Kroll, an expert on Tasers hired by the defense, said the stun gun delivers a shock that can burn four times hotter than the surface of the sun. That's one of the reasons, he said, that he can think of nothing else that could have caused the unique electronic burns.
"There’s really no alternate source for that heat damage," he testified. "An electric arc defect is very distinct. It burns in a certain way. I think we can exclude any other cause. There’s not anything else I can think of that could cause that damage besides the Taser electronic weapon being used against officer Slager’s shirt."
The presiding judge ordered a lunch recess until about 2:45 p.m.
12:30 p.m. SLED expert Megan Fletcher acknowledged that the small holes in Michael Slager's uniform did not look like the ones she made by using a Taser on a test shirt, though she still could not rule out a Taser as the cause of the burn marks.
"My opinion is that I cannot rule out a Taser as the cause," she said. "I can’t say it definitely did. I can’t say it definitely did not."
The defense also called its sixth witness, Mark Kroll, a biomedical scientist specializing in electrical shocks.
11:30 a.m. State Law Enforcement Division trace evidence examiner Megan Fletcher testified that she issued a report on burn marks found on Michael Slager's left uniform shirt pocket. It takes heat of about 480 degrees to melt the polyester shirt, she said.
"I was not able to rule out a Taser as a possible source of having created those melted fibers," Fletcher said. "I’m not aware of any other source that could create that kind of damage."
Fletcher said she couldn't rule out another source. But she also tested an iron, which didn't burn the shirt, and a flame, which burned the shirt but caused a color change.
Defense attorney Andy Savage suggested, flippantly, that a bizarre event could have damaged the shirt.
"There’s always a possibility that he was laying on the beach with a magnify glass?" Savage asked. "There’s always that potential of a meteor landing on the earth."
11 a.m. State Law Enforcement Division trace evidence examiner Megan Fletcher started testifying about gunshot residue, or GSR, tests done on Michael Slager and Walter Scott. She said GSR was found on Scott's right hand but not on his left hand.
GSR is made up of tiny particles of gunpowder spewed when a firearm is fired.
Fletcher said someone can get GSR on them if they're near a weapon when it's fired, when they fired a weapon, or when they touch someone who has shot a gun or the gun itself.
A prosecutor later noted on cross-examination that GSR could be transferred from one person to another by the touching of hands.
Slager handcuffed Scott after the shooting.
10:50 a.m. State Law Enforcement Division forensic photographer William Vanadore took the witness stand to say that he took thousands of photographs of Michael Slager's uniform and Walter Scott's shirt.
10:30 a.m. Presiding Judge Clifton Newman says juror No. 61, who had planned a mission trip on Saturday, has rescheduled.
The juror who works with a Walter Scott family member said she did not know about it because her company employs 300 people.
9 a.m. With the jury expected to return at 10:30 this morning, attorneys in the case took up some legal issues.
Prosecutors planned to challenge the validity of testing done by the defense, but they decided not to, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said.
Wilson also voiced another concern about an alternate juror who works with a second cousin from the Walter Scott family. It was unknown if that juror knows the co-workers is a member of the family.
"I'm just trying to disclose this to the court in case the juror gets seated on the jury of 12," Wilson said.
Lead defense attorney Andy Savage said an expert from Minneapolis was expected to take up most of the testimony time today. Three more experts are likely to testify Tuesday and another on Wednesday, when court is scheduled to last from 9 a.m. to noon.
2 p.m. With questioning of Fredericks completed, court adjourns until Monday. Jurors are told to be back at 10:30 a.m.
Also, Judge Clfton Newman says court will adjour at noon on Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving.
1:45 p.m. The state tries to discredit the defense's forensic video expert during questioning that at times becomes heated.
"Sir, you asked me a question. Will you let me answer?" Fredericks says to Deputy Solicitor Bruce DuRant.
Noon. Court has been a bit of a slog this morning as the jury has been in and out while lawyer argue over just how much information will be given to them from Fredericks' presentation. Defense wants to put the words on the screen but the state objects.
The judge says the jury should be able to interpret what is being said themselves.
11:30 a.m. Defense witness Grant Fredricks points out inconsistencies in the video the state presented to the jury and explains the videos he has analyzed and his methods.
10:30 a.m. Fredricks says the compilation video presented by witness Bill Williams on Wednesday doesn't accurately represent the distance between Slager and Scott because the slides, which had a different ration, were "stretched" when they were put in Williams' presentation.
9:30 a.m. The day starts with the lawyers arguing again over yesterday's testimony of expert witness Bill Williams, but Judge Clifton Newman denies defense attorney Andy Savage's motion to strike Williams' testimony.
When the jury enters at 9:30 a.m., the judge appoints a jury foreman, and then Ely Driggers, who handles equipment for North Charleston, takes the stand to talk about what Michael Slager was wearing the day of the incident.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 9:
6 p.m. The court has recessed until Thursday. Judge Newman said that he wants to finish by 2 p.m.
The defense began their case with their first witness, David Hallimore. A former police officer, he is now an audio specialist who enhanced Walter Scott's recording.
He played his enhanced recording for the court.
4:30 p.m. Judge Newman denies defense's motion of directed verdict of acquittal. He said that the state proved beyond reasonable doubt that Michael Slager killed Walter Scott with malice.
The defense sought a dismal, arguing that the state could not prove evidence of malice, a requirement of a murder charge. However, the prosecution argued that shooting Walter Scott in the back and alleged lies to authority are evidence of malice.
4:15 p.m. The state has rested its case again Michael Slager after 32 witnesses and 9 days of testimony.
4 p.m. James Tallon a crime scene special agent with SLED is now on the stand.
Tallon said he was asked to complete scans of the scene on April 20, 2015.
3:30 p.m. The defense cross-examined expert witness Bill Williams, a private animator. The defense questioned Williams on geometry used in scene reconstruction. Williams said the geometry was just what he learned in high school. He acknowledged that the diagram of Walter Scott's position at each shot was mistakenly stretched out in presentation, making distances greater.
Williams completed his testimony, and the court broke for a short recess.
2:30 p.m. The trial resumes. Expert witness Bill Williams, a private animator, is to finish up his testimony about the animated timeline he made of the incident.
1 p.m. Court is now in recess for lunch until 2:15 p.m.
12:50 p.m. The jury is now watching the video.
12:30 p.m. Williams has been standing at the TV in front of the jury, explaining his methodology for creating the compilation of the events on April 4, 2015, for nearly two hours, with one five-minute break. The jury has not yet seen the video.
10:30 a.m. Expert witness Bill Williams, who combined Santana's videos with dash cam videos and audio recordings to make a re-creation of the incident, takes the stand. After extensively detailing his background and experience, Williams is showing the jury his video. The jury has already seen all of the individual video.
9:30 a.m. Before the jury enters the courtroom to hear the testimony of the state's last witness, Bill Williams, Judge Clifton Newman reads some notes he's received from jurors with concerns about how the lengthy trial could affect their jobs and work benefits.
Bill Williams testified for about 4 hours yesterday without the jury before the judge ruled that he can be admitted as an expert in in computer technology, crime-scene analysis and other fields.
The jury will be shown a 9 minute, 30 second video Williams made recreating the incident from traffic stop to after the shooting.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 8:
4:30 After hours of testimony with the jury absent, the judge rules that prosecution witness William Williams is an expert in computer tech, scene analysis, video syncing, animation and timelines. Williams will be allowed to testify, though he will not be allowed to give testimony on the Taser. "He's not a Taser man," Judge Clifton Newman tells Solicitor Scarlett Wilson. Judge calls jury back into courtroom, dismisses them for the day.
Court to reconvene at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
4 p.m. Private animator William Williams is presenting his testimony without a jury present. He has been on the stand for about four hours to determine if he is qualified to be an expert witness.
Williams has compiled a mix of photos, video and audio from the incident to create a timeline of what happened.
3 p.m. "What this witness has is a skill that the common man doesn't have," Solicitor Scarlett Wilson argued to the judge about William Williams, a private animator who the prosecution wants to use as a witness. The jury has been out of the court room since around noon while Williams has been on the stand to see if he is qualified as an expert witness.
The judge is not convinced that Williams is a video enhancement expert. "I can just imagine seeing this case again before the Supreme Court," he said.
The judge also thinks that Williams's testimony would actually help the defense more than the prosecution. "In fact, I'm amazed that the defense is objecting to his testimony," he said.
At 2:50 p.m. the court went into a brief break.
2:30 p.m. The judge is questioning Private animator William Williams on his experience in crime scene investigations.
Williams said he testified Eutawville officer-involved shooting where a white former police chief fatally shot an unarmed black man.
Williams typically specializes in car crash re-creations for lawsuits, and besides the Eutawville case, Williams said he has given no other criminal trial testimony.
"If you have the knowledge of the different softwares I use, you don't have to be an expert," Williams said.
2 p.m. The court has resumed after recess. Private animator William Williams is still on the stand. Jury is still not in the room. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is questioned him for a few minutes, but the defense has now resumed questioning.
"In what areas do you propose to offer expert opinions?" the judge asked.
"..I don't know what will be asked of me per say," Williams responded.
1:15 p.m. The court is in recess until 1:45 p.m. The jury was released around noon for a lunch break, but William Williams, a private animator, was called to the stand and questioned on his qualifications to be an expert witness for the prosecution. Williams combined the video and other evidence to reconstruct the incident.
The defense challenged Williams on his training in virtual crime reconstruction. He has no formal training and runs his own business.
11:30 a.m. Jurors are sent out for lunch until 1 p.m. William Williams, a private animator, is being questioned without the jury present on his qualifications to be an expert witness. Williams combined video and other evidence to reconstruct the Walter Scott incident. Michael Slager's defense team is grilling him on the soundness of his work. "My work has been accepted in multiple trials," Williams said. "I haven't had to go through this to get it there."
10:30 a.m. After a brief recess, the jury returns to see additional still frames from Imel's enhanced video of the fight between Michael Slager and Walter Scott.
When defense attorney Andy Savage accused Imel of only producing still images of videos that would benefit the prosecution, Imel said, "I have no opinion on the actions within this video. My testimony is solely on the enhancements that I did."
Imel said he produced 50,000 photos from the three-minute video.
9:30 a.m. Testimony begins with defense attorney Andy Savage's cross-examination of FBI photographic technologist Anthony Imel, who was on the stand Monday when jury members sent Judge Clifton Newman a note saying they were tired.
Imel enhanced the video of the shooting taken by Feiden Santana and took some still photos from it.
As Savage pounded away at Imel with questions intended to show that Santana's video does not show the entire story, Imel repeatedly responded, "I do not believe that was recorded on the video."
LIVE BLOG / DAY 7:
5 p.m. FBI video analyst Anthony Imel said the witness video of Walter Scott's shooting was unclear with a lot of motion blur. Jurors were shown portions of the enhanced slow-motion footage and some still images, but little can be discerned from them.
Minutes before 5 p.m., the judge was delivered a note. "The jury says they’re tired,” Judge Clifton Newman said.
He ordered a recess until 9 a.m. Tuesday, bringing smiles to the jurors' faces. Imel's testimony will continue, and the prosecution will present one more witness until resting.
The defense could then make any motions for a dismissal of the case or a mistrial. Defense attorney Andy Savage told Newman that he would be ready Tuesday afternoon to present witnesses "if that's necessary."
4 p.m. Anthony Imel, an FBI expert, took the witness stand to testify about his analysis of the video shot by bystander Feidin Santana. He was asked to enhance the footage and pay particular attention to the location of the Taser during the confrontation between Michael Slager and Walter Scott.
3:30 p.m. The defense finished peppering SLED Agent Angela Peterson about why certain things were done and others were not in the agency's probe of Walter Scott's shooting death.
Lawyer Andy Savge pointed out what he called discrepancies in Peterson's reports on the case. One noted that Scott was trying to get away from the officer's Taser. Another noted that Slager was trying to get away from the Taser when it was in Scott's hands.
Peterson often could not answer Savage's questions.
"These are all critical matters in terms of what was in the mind of officer Slager at the time lethal force was used," Savage said.
"I don’t know what was in his mind at the time," Peterson said. "Only he can explain that."
Prosecutors declined to ask further questions of Peterson after the defense's cross-examination lasted for 90 minutes.
2 p.m. Defense attorney Andy Savage started cross-examination of SLED Agent Angela Peterson.
Consistent with the defense's theme in the case, Savage sought to highlight shortcomings of Peterson's work on the case, pointing out that testing was done on Michael Slager's Taser that could have destroyed trace evidence on the device. The testing was done after a judge ordered that no destructive testing be done.
Savage also challenged Peterson on whether she had followed avenues of investigation that could have called into question bystander Feidin Santana's eyewitness account and video of the shooting.
"He was there," Peterson said, "and what he has said has been consistent with what we have been told."
1:30 p.m. SLED Agent Angela Peterson was still on the stand under cross examination.
Chief Deputy Solicitor Bruce DuRant asked Peterson why a statement from Michael Slager wasn't obtained when agents interviewed the officer.
The defense asked for a mistrial. Because not giving a statement shouldn't be held against the officer, defense attorney Andy Savage said this questioning would be prejudicial for jurors.
Judge Clifton Newman denies the motion, saying the witness never really answered the question, so nothing prejudicial happened.
Noon. SLED Agent Angela Peterson, the lead investigator on the case, took the stand about 11:15 a.m., and testified for nearly an hour on the April 6, 2015, interview at Slager's previous lawyer's office.
Peterson refers often to her 14 pages of notes from that interview during her testimony.
During the chase and the scuffle afterward, Slager was afraid that Scott would take his weapon and turn it on the officer, Peterson said. Also, he could hear a voice on Scott's phone and was afraid that someone would show up to assist Scott before any other officers arrived.
Court recessed for lunch at about 12:05 p.m. with plans to resume at 1:15 p.m.
11:15 a.m. Levi Miles, an investigator for lawyer David Aylor, testifies for 20 minutes about what Michael Slager said during an interview with SLED agents on April 6, 2015.
Miles re-enacts a scuffle between Slager and Scott, as he did during that interview in the law office, and says under questioning, that he was never positioned on top of Slager and Slager never said Scott punched him.
In an attempt to impeach Miles, defense lawyer Andy Savage asks about his drug conviction more than 7 years ago.
"All you are is a pawn with a felony conviction," he says.
After Miles, SLED agent Angela Peterson is the next witness. Peterson was the agent in charge of the investigation.
10:45 a.m. Judge Clifton Newman rules that the state can call Levi Miles as a witness. Miles was the private investigator for lawyer David Aylor, who represented Michael Slager before the video became public.
The defense argued conversations to which Miles was privy are covered by attorny-client privilege, but the state argued that SLED agents were also in the meeting.
The jury enters the courtroom to start hearing testimony at 10:45 a.m.
10 a.m. Day 7 in the Michael Slager murder trial starts with arguments about whether the judge will allow the testimony of Levi Miles, who worked for David Aylor, Slager's first lawyer. Aylor dropped Slager as client after the shooting video emerged.
As Slager demonstrated the shooting during an interview with State Law Enforcement officers, Miles pretended to be Walter Scott.
Defense lawyer Andy Savage argued that investigator's testimony is attorney-client privilege and would prejudice the jury.
Court recessed just before 10 a.m. for the judge to consider the arguments.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 6:
5:15 p.m. The prosecution is now questioning SLED agent Charles Ghent.
"He (Slager) didn't tell you that he was 17 feet away from Mr. Scott when he shot, did he?" the prosecution asked the agent.
"He did not," Ghent said.
The prosecution asked if Slager indicated possession of drugs or a weapon by Scott. Ghent said he did not.
"He never said that there was any concern on his part that Mr. Scott had a firearm, did he?" the prosecution asked.
"He did not."
"Did he ever tell you anything about him being tased by Mr. Scott?"
"He did not."
"Did he ever say in the interview that he felt he was in danger with Mr. Scott?"
"He did not."
"Did he appear to be in danger in the video when he shot Mr. Scott?"
"He did not."
After the prosecution was done, defense attorney Andy Savage asked the agent a few additional questions.
At 5:15 p.m. the judge called recess until 9 a.m. Monday morning.
5 p.m. Defense attorney Andy Savage is cross-examining SLED agent Charles Ghent.
Savage questioned why the SLED agents did not video record their interview with Slager and his former attorney, David Aylor. Savage implied that SLED did not do enough investigating before choosing to arrest Slager on a murder charge.
Savage asked Agent Ghent if he knew that Slager yelled "stop!" and "taser!" multiple times independent of Slager's account. Ghent confirmed that he could hear that on the radio transmission.
Savage then asked if he heard "expletive deleted cops" on the radio transmission. Agent Ghent could not recall that.
The defense finished cross-examining the agent.
4:30 p.m. After a brief break, defense attorney Andy Savage is now cross-examining SLED agent Charles Ghent.
"You arrested him for murder, yes?" Savage questioned the agent.
"And what all did you collect to show how exhausted he was from the weight he was carrying when he ran 200 yards?" Savage continued. He argued that the weight Slager was wearing, from his duty belt to his boots must've exhausted him.
Savage said that Slager made statements to "anyone who asked" and was very cooperative.
Savage then questioned why the agents did not obtain Slager's vest, when they took many of his other items. Savage pointed out that it would've been easy to obtain since it was property of the North Charleston Police Dept.
"You know that this whole case is not about the shooting but what led to the shooting?" Savage asked.
4 p.m. The judge ruled on the side of the defense and will not let the agent read the notes.
The prosecution questioned Ghent about Slager's interpretation of what happened before Scott was shot.He's recounting his initial interview with Michael Slager and his former attorney, David Aylor.
According to Ghent, Slager tried to hold Scott down to arrest him, and Scott kept resisting "wiggling trying to get away." At that point Slager thought the Taser wires had broke from the scuffling on the ground and would no longer be effective. He still tried to tase Scott, for a third time, this time on the ribs.
Slager was worried because Scott kept calling out his location to a person on the phone, who Slager thought could be coming. Slager called Habersham to get there faster.
Scott got to his feet and Slager said that Scott got a hold of the Taser and was trying to hit him with it. Slager did not know if Scott was able to activate the Taser.
Slager was worried that Scott was going to Tase him and take away his weapon. Slager felt Scott's actions "indicated that he didn't want to go to jail."
Slager wondered if he would get home to his pregnant wife that night. He said he was in fear of his life.
Slager then took steps backward, shuffled to the left and then fired his weapon, as he was trained to do. He shot when he thought Scott was going to turn his direction.
"When I shuffled to the left I just started firing" Slager told the SLED agent.
He then called "shots fired" on his radio, and he handcuffed Scott on the ground. He noted that Scott was covered in blood.
He said he located the taser between where he was shooting and where Scott landed.
Slager said he didn't know Scott's location when he started shooting.
3:30 p.m. SLED agent Charles Ghent takes the stand. He said that SLED had heard "initial speculation" that there could be a video of the shooting and it was confirmed later in the evening.
"We decided to not initially disclose the existence of the video (to Slager)," he said. "We wanted an opportunity to see if he would tell the truth."
Ghent relayed Michael Slager's story from initial interview notes from SLED. Defense attorney Andy Savage objects.
""That's not Michael Slager's statement. That's this officer's statement that he wrote down," Savage said.
The judge dismissed the jury in order to hear defense objection about the use of SLED agent's notes.
3 p.m. Walter Scott's brother, Anthony, testified about taking photos on his phone at the scene shortly after the shooting. He said his phone was taken from him by police, but then returned. He said he did not know if it was tampered with.
Anthony talked about the moment he met Feidin Santana, who he had never seen before. He met him at restaurant with a translator because Santana did not speak much English.
"He was scared," Anthony said of Santana's demeanor.
Santana showed Anthony and his wife the video in the car. Anthony asked for a copy of the video. Santanna said he wouldn't give Anthony the video, even after Anothony offered him money. Santana wanted to see what the officers report said.
After the report said the shooting was the result of a taser struggle, Anthony met up with Santana again on Monday. Anthony had his lawyer download the video and he contacted SLED.
Anthony is not cross-examined by defense.
"I'm sorry for your loss," defense attorney Andy Savage said.
A SLED agent takes the stand.
2:45 p.m. SLED expert Sam Stewart leaves the stand. The prosecution calls Walter Scott's brother Anthony Scott to the stand. He arrived at the scene after the shooting and took photos.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson asks about Anthony's life, family.
"I had two brothers, I have one brother now," Anthony said.
He refers to Walter as Lamar, his middle name. He said the last time he talked to Lamar was the Wednesday before his death on Saturday, April 4, 2015.
Anthony said he advised Lamar (Walter) against getting the Mercedes Benz because it would draw attention in North Charleston, an area "highly profiled" by police. Anthony told him to reconsider buying that car because he lived in North Charleston.
2:30 p.m. Defense asked that documents be available to jury with the raw numbers of the DNA levels. Prosecution objects that the document would be misleading because the expert was clear that the numbers do no justify a major or minor contributor designation. The judge sustains the objection.
2:15 p.m. The defense points out that portions of DNA profile from Taser had higher levels of Scott's DNA than Slager's DNA. However, SLED expert Samuel Stewart said the level is not high enough to consider Scott a "major" contributor, and that is the only way to scientifically say if one person contributed more DNA than the other.
2 p.m. The trial resumed after a lunch break. The break was taken early because a juror had a family emergency.
SLED expert Samuel Stewart is back on the stand to talk about DNA analysis. The defense is cross-examining, asking about specifics on how the analysis is conducted.
Stewart discussed the difference between a "major" and "minor" contributor, which has to meet certain levels to get such designations. He said he can not distinguish major and minor contributors between Scott and Slager.
"But you can tell who contributed more, correct?" defense attorney Don McCune asked.
"No, not necessarily," Stewart replied.
Noon SLED expert Samuel Stewart took the stand around 11:15 a.m. and talked about the results of DNA testing.
Blood samples from Slager's uniform shirt were a mixture of at least 2 people, Stewart says, and Slager was a "major contributor" but he couldn't identify the second person. Only Slager's DNA was found on his uniform pants, he said.
In addition, Scott did not have Slager's DNA under his fingernails, according to Stewart.
10 a.m. Trying to show that state investigators did an incomplete job, Slager lawyer Andy Savage questions SLED Agent Almon Brown about why agents didn't collect fingerprints and why they didn't search Slager's vehicle.
“Is there anything in this photograph that suggests that there is a weapon of any type in this vehicle?” He asks Brown, showing him a photo of the inside of Slager's trunk.
When Brown answers that, knowing it's law enforcement vehicle "I can assume that there is probably" a firearm, Savage retorts, "This is a murder trial. We don’t assume.”
Brown concludes his testimony at 10:10 a.m.
9:30 a.m. The sixth day of testimony in Michael Slager's murder trial starts with State Law Enforcement Division agent Almon Brown returning to the stand. Brown was being cross-examined by defense lawyer Andy Savage on Tuesday when court adjourned early for election day, but he couldn't return on Wednesday due to a doctor appointment.
Brown was the first SLED agent to arrive on the scene on April 4, 2015.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 5:
5:15 p.m. Testimony ended for the day. The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.
The courthouse will be closed Friday for Veterans Day.
5 p.m. SLED crime-scene investigator Dawn Claycomb and evidence technician Doris Yarborough testified briefly about handling evidence in the case.
Claycomb collected a sample to test for gunshot residue on Michael Slager's hands. Their testimony establishes a "chain of custody" to account for the transfer of key evidence from one place to another. Yarborough handled a saliva sample from Slager.
A prosecutor asked if she had tampered with the evidence.
"No," Yarborough said, "I did not."
4 p.m. Forensic toxicologist Demi Garvin testified that Walter Scott's had a cocaine level of 36 nanograms per milliliter, while an average impaired driver's level is 87.
The level of cocaethylene, a cocaine byproduct, was 26 nanograms per milliliter.
He also had 1,300 nanograms per milliliter of benzoylecgonine, a mixture of cocaine and an alcohol byproduct. No alcohol was in his blood.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Andy Savage pointed to a report that the state had ordered, showing that people have been hospitalized with 1,280 nanograms per milliliter of benzoylecgonine.
“So people who report to the hospital for cocaine use have a lower (level) than Walter Scott had in his blood,” Savage said.
"They can have lower," she answered, "and they can also have higher."
3:00 p.m. Forensic toxicologist Demi Garvin took the stand for about an hour without the jury presented. The defense wanted to cross-examine her on how cocaine and traces of alcohol mixing in Walter Scott's bloodstream could have caused "excited delirium," explaining his behavior on the day of his death. The judge ruled that defense attorney Andy Savage must not go into such questioning with the witness.
The judge also ruled to exclude Scott's history with drugs. He was discharged from the Coast Guard decades ago after a positive marijuana test, and he tested positive for cocaine in November 2014, just months before the shooting.
2:30 p.m. Dr. Lee Marie Tormos said the autopsy revealed that the bullets that hit Walter Scott all came from behind. They hit the back of his body closer to his right side than to his spine.
Defense attorney Andy Savage challenged Tormos on the definition of the human back, saying it varies depending on the person offering the definition. Tormos said she was using the medical one.
"But they were in the back," she said of Scott's injuries.
Tormos said the wounds were consistent with the video showing Scott running away when he was shot.
12:30 p.m. Robert Downey, a SLED agent with a vice canine, said his dog did not find any narcotics on the inside or outside of Scott's vehicle.
At 12:15 p.m., MUSC forensic pathologist Dr. Lee Marie Tormos, who performed the autopsy on Scott, takes the stand to describe the man's injuries, including five gunshot wounds and other bruises and abrasions.
11:30 a.m. Defense attorney Andy Savage has continued to try to punch holes in the state's investigation into the case.
10:30 a.m. Cross-examining SLED agent Jamie Johnson, Slager lawyer Andy Savage says his investigators used a toy metal detector to find additional projectiles missed by police and state investigators at the scene where Walter Scott was fatally shot. Johnson returned to the scene 16 days after the shooting to collect additional evidence.
9:30 A.M. Testimony continues in the fifth day of the Michael Slager murder trial with State Law Enforcement Division agent Jamie Johnson on the stand. She arrived on the scene shortly after noon on April 4, 2015, and helped collect evidence and process the scene.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 4:
4 p.m. Judge Clifton Newman ended the proceedings for the day, an early recess for Election Day. Lead prosecutor Scarlett Wilson is up for re-election, though no one is running against her.
Defense attorney Andy Savage questioned former state crime scene agent Almon Brown about why certain testing wasn't done and evidence wasn't collected if investigators knew that officer Michael Slager alleged that he had been in a fight with Walter Scott. The tests that were not done include a search for fingerprints on Slager's Taser, which he said Scott had taken from him before he opened fire.
“This jury got incomplete information because the state of South Carolina failed to do it’s job?" Savage asked, an inquisitive inflection in his voice.
"That’s a question?" Brown said.
3 p.m. Former State Law Enforcement Division Special Agent Almon Brown's testimony has stretched more than two hours. Listing the items — such as Walter Scott's Dallas Cowboys hat, a cracked LG cellphone and pieces of a Taser — Brown pointed on a diagram where the physical evidence was found at the scene.
Brown testified that there were no signs of stippling found on Scott, the pattern caused by hot gunpowder spewed from a firearm at close range. That further could indicate Scott was shot at a distance of more than 36 inches, Brown said.
On cross-examination by defense attorney Andy Savage, Brown was pressed on why certain testing wasn't done, such as a search for fingerprints on officer Michael Slager's Taser. Savage contends that because agents knew Slager said he had been in a fight with Scott, such testing should have been done.
2 p.m. After a lunch break, former state crime scene investigator Almon Brown continued to testify about evidence found at the Walter Scott shooting site. Earlier, Brown said the information he got from an initial debriefing about what had happened did not line up with the wounds he saw on Scott's back. "It just didn't seem correct," he said.
Noon: Former State Law Enforcement Division agent Almon Brown, took the stand around 11:40 a.m. and described what he saw when he arrived around noon on April 4, 2015, and his method of processing crime scenes.
11 a.m. The jury has spent much of the day going in and out of the courtroom as lawyers have argued over which photos of the crime scene will be allowed.
Jackie Ong, North Charleston Police Department crime scene investigator, took the stand at 10:40 a.m. to testify about how she found Scott's body. She noted that a Taser barb was still attached, he had gunshot wounds and someone had tried to provide medical care after the incident.
Shortly after 11 a.m., Judge Clifton Newman told jurors that they are being watched, and they may close their eyes to concentrate, but if it's determined they may be asleep, they could be removed from jury.
10 a.m. The first witness of the day is Scott Wyant, a former North Charleston Police Department crime scene supervisor. Wyant arrived on the scene at 10:20 a.m., and shortly after, officers covered Scott's body with a tent because of intermittent rain. Wyant then began marking evidence with folded cards and took overall and detail photos of the scene.
Photos of Slager taken by Wyant show blood on Slager's uniform and injuries to Slager's finger and knee, he says.
9 a.m. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson says testimony today will include some graphic photographs. Court was delayed while lawyers from both sides hashed out which photos could be used without objection.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 3:
5 p.m. The judge has called a recess until 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. The trial will continue despite it being election day. Court officials said that jurors voted last week.
The day ended with defense attorney Andy Savage cross-examining Brian Chiles, an employee of Taser International.
Savage asked Chiles many questions about his analysis of the taser used during Slager and Scott's encounter.
"All I can say is that the trigger was pulled 7 times that day," Chiles said when questioned about the taser's effectiveness. "I can't speak on how effective it was."
4:30 p.m. Brian Chiles, an employee of Taser International has now taken the stand.
Earlier, the court resumed after a lunch break with Sgt. James Gann back on the stand.
The room got a little tense earlier when Gann was being cross-examined by the defense. The defense asked him if it was rational to assume Scott had a weapon based on his behavior. The prosecution objected to defense asking for interpretation of Scott's actions.
"That's an improper comment," the judge said.
1 p.m. Court is in recess for a 90 minute lunch break.
12:30 p.m. Testimony of Lt. Dan Brown has centered around uniform, department staffing. Brown finished testifying just after 12:30 p.m.
Sgt. James Gann is the third North Charleston Police officer called to the witness stand.
11:30 a.m. Bowman is on the stand, answering questions about what he saw and did the morning of April 4, 2015, and about training given to North Charleston police officers receive.
11 a.m. Much of Habersham's testimony centers around the shortage of officers on duty on the morning of the shooting.
After Habersham, North Charleston Police Lt. Daniel Bowman takes the stand. A watch commander, Bowman says Michael Slager showed him injuries he received during the incident. He wasn't investigating but wanted to know what was going on to report to his superior.
10 a.m. Defense Attorney Andy Savage continues his cross-examination of former North Charleston Police Officer Clarence Habersham, the first officer to show up after Michael Slager shot Walter Scott to death. Savage asks Habersham about the shortage of officers on duty in that area on the morning of April 4, 2015.
LIVE BLOG / DAY 2:
5 p.m. The judge ended proceedings for the day, as a juror had "an issue," he said after a note was handed to him.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Monday.
4:30 p.m. Clarence Habersham, the first officer to show up after Michael Slager shot Walter Scott to death, took the witness stand.
After nine years as a North Charleston policeman, he said he recently left the department and started work for a clothing manufacturer.
Habersham, who had been on the same patrol squad with Slager only for a few months before the shooting in April 2015, arrived at the scene to the sight of the officer running.
He tended to Scott’s body. Scott lay face down on the ground, and Habersham flipped over the body. He did first aid, he said, and another later started CPR.
Habersham said he never saw Slager drop anything nearby, such as a Taser, as he tried to help Scott.
Slager later told Habersham that he was fine.
“Why did he do that?” Slager told Habersham, the witness testified.
4 p.m. On cross-examination by the defense, Tawayne Weems fielded questions about the guidance he gave to Feidin Santana after Santana filmed Walter Scott's shooting.
He addressed what has been described as Santana's "paranoia" of going to the police with the footage. Santana did media interviews before answering investigators' questions.
“He just saw a police officer shoot a man eight times in the back," Weems said. "He was not trusting at that time.”
Weems was pressed by defense lawyer Andy Savage about Santana's visits with national news media outlets and, in some cases, how Santana had sought payment for the video. He described the gravity that he saw in the footage.
"I knew that it was going to become a big item," he said. "This was the precipice of something big.”
3:30 p.m. The prosecution calls Tawayne Weems to the stand as a corroborating witness to Feidin Santana's testimony.
The defense objected, but the judge overruled.
Weems, assistant principal at Stall High School, was one of the first people who saw the cellphone video Santana took of Walter Scott's shooting death.
Weems said he was standing outside the barbershop where Santana worked when Santana showed him the video.
"I knew the gravity of the situation," Weems said of seeing the video.
Weems said after he spoke with Chris Stewart, one of the attorneys for the Scott family, that was when he told Santana that he should get a lawyer.
Weems said he suggested this because he wanted to make sure Santana was kept safe and that his best interests would be taken into consideration.
Following Santana's interview on MSNBC, Weems said he was concerned about his friend.
"I had begun to notice that he was more paranoid," Weems said, noting he suggested Santana get some counseling to deal with being in the spotlight after the release of the cellphone video.
1:45 p.m. Defense attorney Andy Savage continued to ask Feiden Santana for more details about what he saw on the day Walter Scott was shot.
Savage asked Santana whether he "saw the fight" that happened between North Charleston police officer Michael Slager and Walter Scott.
"There was no fight," Santana said.
Savage referred to the fight another time during questioning. Santana again said that he did not see a fight.
When Savage asked Santana if Scott was touching Slager when Slager drew his weapon, Santana said he saw Slager grabbing Scott.
Savage asked Santana whether Slager saw him at the time of the incident. Santana said he did.
Savage also asked Santana why he did not call 911.
"I believed that the person who were there were supposed to do that job," Santana said, referring to the police officers who later arrived on the scene.
The interactions that Santana had with the media were called into question by Savage, specifically that Santana spoke with multiple media outlets before talking to police. Santana said that was because he did not know the procedures.
When asked how much money Santana received for his video, Santana did not give an exact amount. Santana also said he was receiving money a month after Scott died.
Savage then moved onto more specifics about what Santana saw. Santana said he never saw Scott on top of Slager.
"The only thing that I saw was a man running and trying to get away from the Taser, not a man fighting," Santana said.
Santana said he saw Scott run away and get shot in the back. Savage asked Santana to point to where he saw Scott get shot.
Santana said he did not need to point, but that he could use his words.
When Savage finished questioning Santana, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson asked Santana a few more questions.
"Explain what the word fight means to you," she asked.
"Fight to me is between two individuals or more, when someone punches you or attacks you," Santana said. "That's not what I saw from Scott. I saw a punch from the officer.
In all, the cross-examination lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The court went into recess just before 1:40 p.m., and will remain in recess until 3 p.m.
1 p.m. Defense attorney Andy Savage began cross-examining Feiden Santana shortly after 12:15 p.m. The defense attorney's line of questioning started with whether or not Santana had knowledge that Savage's office had been attempting to contact him for "the past year and a couple months."
Santana said he did not know the defense had been trying reach him. Santana said he was in the Dominican Republic during that time, and that his lawyer did not tell him about those requests until he returned to the United States.
Savage then asked Santana about a set of song lyrics Santana had written about six months before the shooting of Walter Scott.
Savage then read some of the lyrics aloud in the courtroom.
"It's all war, trouble, police abuse," Savage said, continuing,"Those who defend us are the worst criminals. Who can I trust?"
Savage then asked Santana how he could answer "no" to an earlier question about whether he had any negative feelings toward law enforcement.
"I'm not against any law enforcement officer," Santana said. "I'm against police brutality. I'm against injustice."
Savage then asked Santana why he did not take Rivers Avenue into work following the Walter Scott shooting. Santana said he does not take Rivers Avenue to work because that is not his normal route.
Savage then asked Santana if his normal route into work is considered a "drug area."
Santana said, "That's the first I've heard about it."
Savage also asked if Santana heard Slager yell, "Taser! Taser! Taser!" while he was filming the video of Walter Scott being shot.
Santana said no.
The presiding circuit judge, Clifton Newman, admonished Savage a few times during the cross-examination.
At one point in the line of questioning, Savage said, "In your mind, based on the prism in which you look at life, you thought that Scott was getting Tased."
Newman urged Savage to decide whether he was asking a question or making a statement.
"If it is a question, you must give him the opportunity to respond," Newman said to Savage.
Noon. Feiden Santana has been testifying most of the morning, first describing the scene the day Walter Scott was shot, and then talking about what he did afterward with the video he shot on his cellphone.
Santana said he was scared for his safety after shooting the video. His plan had been to make enough money to return to his wife and child in the Dominican Republic.
When the video became public, it "affected everything," he said. Due to media presence, clients stopped coming to the barbershop and "the barbershop started started going down. Everything fell."
Santana's lawyer, Todd Rutherford, set up a fund-raising web page for him and also started charging for video use, he said.
"The first thing I say is that I feel that (making money off the video) would be disrespectful to the family of Walter Scott," he said. "So I say, if the family agree, I’m agree."
The court recessed for a 10-minute break just before noon.
11:30 a.m. On the witness stand being questioned by Solicitor Scarlett Wildon, Feiden Santana says he was reluctant to let authorities know he had taken a video of the last minutes of Walter Scott's life.
"I didn’t want to be involved but at the same time, my moral (sic) and my value didn’t allow me to do that because it was an injustice what I saw,” said Santana, with the his chair turned toward the jury.
When additional police officers arrived on scene, he told them he'd seen the scuffle between Slager and Scott, but when they told him to wait, he left before being interviewed.
Initially, he said, "It was not in my feelings to go to the police. I thought that Walter Scott was still alive."
Later, Santana searched the internet for information on the Scotts, eventually finding comments by Black Lives Matter organizer Muhiyidin d'Baha and Thomas Dixon, co-founder of The Coalition: People United to Take Back our Community." He contacted both via Facebook, and d'Baha replied.
Santana then put d'Baha in touch with Stall High School assistant principal Tawayne Weems, who Santana knew from the barbershop and thought of as a mentor.
Weems met with d'Baha and a woman, and d'Baha agreed to contact the family and later brought Scott's brother, Anthony Scott, to meet Santana.
"I was scared," he said. "I didn't know them. So the first thing I said was, 'Look, it's very hard to watch it.' ... I press the video and they saw the video. Many emotions happened. They cry. Everything."
Scott family members first saw the video in the backseat of Weems' car in the parking lot of the North Charleston barbershop where Santana worked.
"My fear was to be here where I am today, to be part of this," he said. "My only wish was to be with my family back in the Dominican Republic."
11 a.m. Court recessed from 10:30 until almost 11:45, and when it returned, the lawyers argued two defense motions, one that would have prevented the state from showing Santana's video, and a second that would have prevented showing it in slow motion. Judge Clifton Newman denied both motions motion.
The jury returned to the courtroom and, with Santana on the witness stand, the unedited, real-time video was shown to the jury just before 11 a.m.
10:30 a.m. The second day of testimony started with Solicitor Scarlett Wilson calling Feiden Santana to the stand at about 9:45 a.m.
Santana's cell phone video of Walter Scott's shooting death led to Slager's arrest.
Santana, 25, was walking to his barber job, talking on the phone, when he was a black man run by, being chased by a white police officer, he said.
He followed the pair, and as he watched the men scuffle on an open lot, he decided to record the fight with his cellphone, he said.
He said he could hear an "electric" sound - later identified as a Taser - as the two scuffled.
"It was a little bit shock for me to see that," he said. "It wasn’t expected, so I for some reason decided to took my phone and record."
LIVE BLOG / DAY 1:
5:15 p.m. Attorneys for Walter Scott's family and his younger brother made a brief statement outside of the courthouse. They said they will not talk to media again because they want the case to play out in court instead.
"Justice is coming... We believe in the system," attorney Chris Stewart said.
Stewart also said that he wasn't concerned about the mostly white jury.
Rodney Scott, Walter's younger brother, also spoke. He reiterated that the family believes justice will be had.
"We can look around town right here and we can see that things are still peaceful," family attorney Justin Bamberg said. "And that is what we would like to see continue."
4:45 p.m. Walter Scott's mother breaks down as she leaves the stand, repeatedly crying out "Oh, Lord" and "hallelujah." The judge declares a recess until 9 a.m. Friday morning.
While on the stand, Scott's mother, Judy Scott, said she got a call from him when he was pulled over. She said that he sounded distressed.
She heard another person tell him "get on the ground and put your hands behind your back!"
Walter told her "they tasing me!" and she could hear him "groaning like he was in excruciating pain."
She said that she told him, "you know North Charleston policemen. So just do whatever they say."
She said that she did not hear any gun shots.
The defense passed on on cross-examining her.
4:30 p.m. Walter Scott's mother Judy Scott, 73, takes the stand. She is questioned by the prosecution.
Judy said that she helped her son, Walter, get out of jail for child support issues.
4:15 p.m. Tonya Mallette, an analyst for the Charleston 911 Consolidated Center, takes the stand.
Mallette said that all 911 calls and radio traffic through the Consolidated Center are recorded and saved for one year.
She said she has provided the "real time" North Charleston Police radio transmission from the incident without altering the recording in any way.
4 p.m. North Charleston Police officer Scott Hille is still on the stand. Assistant Solicitor Chad Simpson questions if it is "good practice" to leave a running patrol vehicle with weapons. Prosecution then replays a part of the dash cam video.
Defense attorney Andy Savage asked Hille if he has ever known anyone to run from a police officer over a broken tail light. Hille said that he could not recall.
3:45 p.m. Hille said that this was a routine traffic stop until the foot chase. He testified that that he observed "good practice" and nothing unprofessional in dash cam video.
He said he heard Slager yelling "taser" and telling Scott to get on the ground in the video.
3:30 p.m. Dash cam video is being shown to jury.
3:15 p.m. North Charleston Police officer Scott Hille is now on the stand. He responded to the scene after Walter Scott was shot, said he was told to retrieve dash cam video from Slager's car.
3 p.m. Pierre Fulton, Walter Scott's coworker who was in the car with Scott when officer Slager pulled him over is still on the stand. He is now being cross-examined by defense attorney Andy Savage.
Savage asked Fulton if he heard Slager warn Scott. Fulton said he did not. He was also challenged on by defense on his mistrust of police.
2:15 p.m. Pierre Fulton, who was in the car with Walter Scott when Michael Slager pulled him over, is on the stand. "Why did he run?" Solicitor Scarlett Wilson questioned Fulton.
"That's a question I would like to ask him. Unfortunately he's not here. He was murdered," Fulton said.
2 p.m. Trial has resumed after recess. Scott's former coworker Pierre Fulton, 30, takes the stand. Fulton said he never heard Scott "ever talk about doing drugs."
12:30 p.m. The trial is taking a recess until 1:45 p.m. Attorneys for Scott's family have postponed meeting with press outside courthouse until later this afternoon.
Noon. After a break, Scott's neighbor Arthur Heyward takes the stand. Heyward fixed up a blue 1990 Mercedes for his son, but when his son got in trouble, he didn't give it to him, he said. Instead, Scott would borrow the Mercedes when he had problems with his Blazer. Eventually, the two men decided to swap vehicles, but they never got around to changing the titles, Heyward said.
11:30 a.m. Gail Gilliard, who says she dates Walter Scott's uncle, takes the stand.
11:15 a.m. Charlotte Jones, 48, Walter Scott's live-in girlfriend, takes the stand. She talks about the problems Scott had with his car, and says he was excited to be getting a "new to him" 25-year-old vehicle.
She knew that he had issues with child support, but on cross-examination by Savage, she says she did not know about several bench warrants that have been issued for Scott over the years.
11 a.m. The first witness, Walter Scott's son, 22-year-old Walter Lamar Scott, took the stand. Scott, a student, lived with his father when we wasn't away at school.
Scott is on the stand for 14 minutes, during which he says he knew his father did cocaine and drank alcohol, and that there was a warrant out for the elder Scott's arrest.
10:30 a.m. Michael Slager’s defense attorneys have begun their opening statements. Lead attorney Andy Savage: “This is a criminal case. This is not a matter of guilt or innocence.” Savage says, “murder is the charge the solicitor chose,” pointing out that it’s the same charge as was chosen for Dylann Roof in the case of the Emanuel AME shootings. Savage urges jurors to consider the charge and its seriousness and decide accordingly on what verdict to render, reminding jury that the case is “governed by a presumption of innocence.”
Slager was a patrolman in the the "No. 1 most crime-ridden area" in North Charleston, Savage said.
When Slager pulled Scott over, "Scott ran … before Slager had an opportunity to check his driver’s license," Savage said. "Mr. Slager did not know what others did about Mr. Scott because he hadn’t had time to receive a response on his background check."
Savage's opening statement lasts just over 40 minutes.
10 a.m. Opening arguments have begun. Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson leads off by walking jurors through the shooting of Walter Scott. "Walter Scott had his back turned... An unarmed man shot at eight times." Wilson tells jurors the prosecution’s goal is to bring accountability to ex-North Charleston officer Michael Slager for his actions, which she contends were extreme and unwarranted.
At the time of the stop, Wilson says, Walter Scott knew something that Michael Slager didn’t know: “He knew that when that license got run, he was going to debtors prison.” Wilson says Slager's Taser was in “dry-stun mode,” which means that it must have been touching Walter Scott’s body. Wilson argues that Scott’s DNA on the Taser “doesn’t go to guilty or not guilty, it goes to provocation.” On Slager, Wilson says, “It may have provoked him, but it didn’t justify him.”
Wilson's statement lasts 25 minutes.
9:30 a.m. All 12 jurors are present and have been sworn in. Judge Clifton Newman advises the jury that the trial is not for entertainment, but a fundamental part of American democracy. "Your purpose as jurors is to find the facts of this case," Newman says. "You are to determine the facts from the testimony that you hear from this witness stand together with any other evidence that you hear in this court."
Brenda Rindge, Brooks Brunson, Erin Gillespie, Andrew Knapp and Caitlin Byrd contributed to this report.