Michael Slager trial recesses for week after testimony on shooting video

Michael Slager trial recesses for week after testimony on shooting video
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson goes over an animation created by expert witness Bill Williams. (Source: AP/Pool)
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson goes over an animation created by expert witness Bill Williams. (Source: AP/Pool)
Judge Newman listens to evidence presented in court. (Source: AP/Pool)
Judge Newman listens to evidence presented in court. (Source: AP/Pool)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The trial of a former North Charleston police officer charged with murder recessed for the week Thursday afternoon after a defense witness contradicted a state witness's analysis of a cell phone video.

Michael Slager is charged with murder in Walter Scott's April 4, 2015, shooting death. Slager said the shooting incident occurred after Scott ran from a traffic stop and took hold of his Taser.

Cellphone video of the incident, appearing to show Scott being shot in the back as he ran away, attracted worldwide attention.

An expert for the defense team for a former North Charleston police officer charged with murder called enhanced video of the shooting of a man who fled a traffic stop "very misleading."

Grant Fredericks was hired by Slager's defense team to analyze that video and the in-car camera footage from Slager's police cruiser.

The images Fredericks presented were mostly blurry, but he said there is no doubt Scott and Slager were both on the ground and as he put it, "connected."

Slager's attorneys also asked Fredericks to analyze the animation presentation presented to jurors on Wednesday by prosecution witness Bill Williams.

Fredericks testified Williams' images misrepresent the distance between the two men when the shots were fired.

"The distortion in doing this process stretched the image and it moves the position of all of the objects away from each other so it exaggerates the distance between officer Slager and Mr. Scott," he said.

Fredericks told the jury the corrected images show a very different picture, adding that perception is everything.

Court will resume on Monday for another short week, running through Wednesday. Court will not be in session on Thanksgiving Day or on Black Friday, defense attorneys have said.

Defense called first witness late Wednesday afternoon

On Wednesday, defense attorneys called on audio expert David Hallimore as their first witness.

Hallimore enhanced the audio from Slager's microphone in the cellphone video, but said it is difficult to make out some of what was said because Slager was chasing Scott.

Before the prosecution rested their case Wednesday, Slager's lawyers asked the judge to declare a not-guilty verdict outright, saying the prosecution did not prove there was pre-meditated malice in the shooting.

Judge Clifton Newman denied that request and said the jury will get a chance to decide if Slager is guilty of murder.

Earlier in the day, state witness and crime scene investigator Bill Williams showed jurors the timeline he created based on cell phone and dash cam video as well as police radio calls. Williams said he spent 500 hours creating an animation of the incident.

The defense team is expected to eventually call North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers. Driggers is likely to be questioned about the department's practices.

Slager faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

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