Slager Jury to Be Allowed to Consider Manslaughter Charge

In the Michael Slager trial, jurors will be allowed to consider a manslaughter charge.

Charleston, SC (AP, WLTX) - The jury in the Michael Slager trial will be allowed to consider voluntary manslaughter as a charge when they begin deliberations soon.

The judge granted a motion by the prosecution to put that charge on the table, along with murder. Deliberations could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon. 

The key difference between the charges is that murder has to show malice, while manslaughter does not. The penalty for manslaughter can range from 2 to 30 years in prison.

Slager is charged in the death of 50-year-old Walter Scott, who was shot five times in the back as he fled a traffic stop in North Charleston in April 2015. The shooting was captured by a bystander on cellphone video that shocked the nation.

While that decision was being made, jurors-- accompanied by court officials and a representative of both the defense and the prosecution--were visiting the site of the shooting in a vacant lot Wednesday morning.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman told the jurors they would view the scene but said they should not discuss what they see or take any notes. News media representatives were not permitted to accompany the jury.

Closing arguments are expected when the jurors return to the Charleston County Courthouse.

The prosecution contends there was no justification for shooting Scott five times in the back as he ran. The defense has argued, and the defendant himself testified, that Slager feared for his life when Scott wrestled with the officer and grabbed his Taser.


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