The jury is deliberating in the murder trial of former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager. Slager is facing a murder charge for fatally shooting motorist Walter Scott. The jury may also choose to convict him of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. Slager’s defense claimed that the officer was in danger after a physical altercation resulted in Scott taking his Taser. The prosecution argued that Scott did not have the Taser when he was shot, and that he was trying to get away from Slager at the time, not cause harm.
On Friday afternoon, the jury sent a note to the judge informing him they were unable to reach a verdict in the case. However, the judge ordered them to resume deliberations one more time in the hopes they can ultimately reach a unanimous verdict on the possible charges.
Jurors sent several more notes to the judge later on Friday afternoon, including one that was basically a letter from an unknown juror informing the judge they could not in good conscious vote guilty in the case. That letter was the start of a bizarre turn of events that lasted over the course of several hours and into the early evening where the defense attorneys asked for the judge to finally declare a mistrial, while the prosecution wanted deliberations to continue.
A separate note from the jury room appeared to indicate there was only one holdout juror and the rest were willing to convict Slager on one of the two possible counts between murder and voluntary manslaughter.
Finally, the judge called the jury back into the courtroom in order to ask one final time whether they were “hopelessly deadlocked.” To the judge’s surprise, the foreperson responded that it was possible further deliberations might actually now lead to a unanimous verdict in the case in the event they could get further clarification about some points of the law.
After returning to the jury room, the foreperson sent down another note informing the judge they had decided to go home for the weekend and wished to come back on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. to continue deliberations.
Watch the announcement of the verdict live in the player above, as soon as the jury reaches a decision.