Judge to decide on bond for Slager, wants court date set

Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager was still in jail Friday awaiting word of whether a judge will grant bond.

The judge, meanwhile, is awaiting word from Slager's attorneys on when they'll be ready to take this case to trial.

Slager, who is charged with the April 4 shooting death of Walter Scott, returned to court Friday morning after the judge called a second hearing.

"I'm not a flight risk to the community, or a danger," said Slager to the judge Friday. "I have a newborn son who I would like to see and a family I would like to spend some time with." Slager said he would abide by the court's orders.

Judge Clifton Newman said he would move "expeditiously" in deciding whether to grant bond, but also said Slager has the right to a speedy trial. With many other high profile cases in Charleston waiting on trial dates, Newman wants a trial date set soon, and plans to meet with Slager's attorney, Andy Savage, and Solicitor Scarlett Wilson in 60 days to decide on a date.

Wilson said the question of when the prosecution would be ready to go to trial is a tough one to answer.

"At the end of the day, I can't tell you today when the state will be ready," she said. "Both sides are consulting with experts. Both of us, as I think you saw yesterday, have things we want to look at, because we both believe getting to the crux of this case is going to help our respective sides."

It was the second day in a row a hearing regarding the possibility of bond for Slager ended without a decision.

The bond hearing Thursday lasted approximately an hour and Judge Clifton Newman said he wanted to consider the evidence including a 153-page motion at the federal courthouse. It included several performance reviews for Slager, a psychiatric evaluation and Scott's autopsy, which says there was cocaine in his system. The autopsy ruled the manner of death homicide.

At Thursday's hearing, Slager's attorney, Andy Savage, portrayed Slager as the victim, a stellar EMT and a stellar Coast Guardsman who received an Honorable Discharge and letters of commendation from the North Charleston Police Department.

Savage said on the day of the incident, it was Walter Scott who attacked Slager with Slager's stun gun.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson countered, showing photos taken from the cell phone footage of the shooting that showed the Taser on the ground before Scott attempted to flee from Slager. Wilson said Scott wanted to get away because he did not want to pay child support, and said Slager "become a firing squad and executed Walter Scott." Wilson said the only time Slager ran during the incident was to go back to the Taser then drop it next to Scott and said Slager did not render aid to Scott, but instead "put handcuffs on a dying or dead man."

Scott's mother and brother also spoke during the bond hearing. Scott's brother asked why Slager should be allowed to go out on bond when Scott did not have that chance.

Prior to the bond hearing, Savage criticized the State Law Enforcement Division, accusing the agency of destroying evidence. Savage called for an independent lab to test evidence in the case. Slager's attorneys are pushing to get their client out of jail, where he has been since his arrest.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson wants to know more about the lab in question.

Walter Scott's family responded to the release of information, saying it changes nothing about the case.

The hearing was originally scheduled for Aug. 27 but was rescheduled for Sept. 10 at 2 p.m., because Savage was not able to attend because of a medical condition, according to a court order.

It is not clear when the judge will issue a decision on bond for Slager.

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