Foreman in Michael Slager trial upset jury could not reach verdict

Foreman in Michael Slager trial upset jury could not reach verdict
Judge declares a mistrial on Monday in the Michael Slager murder case.
Judge declares a mistrial on Monday in the Michael Slager murder case.
Michael Slager (Source: AP/Pool File)
Michael Slager (Source: AP/Pool File)
Walter Scott. (Source: Facebook)
Walter Scott. (Source: Facebook)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The foreman in the Michael Slager murder trial said that he was upset that the jury could not reach a verdict earlier this week which led to a mistrial.

"I'm a little upset that twelve individuals from twelve different backgrounds could not come together to come up with one verdict," Dorsey Montgomery said Thursday night to Live 5 News.

Montgomery said it was an "extreme letdown" after the judge called a mistrial in the former North Charleston police officer's case which charged him in the April 4, 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott.

"I thought even on Monday when we came back for the final deliberation, I thought we were going to come and have a final verdict for this particular case," Montgomery said. "But, it didn't happen as I had anticipated it."

According to Montgomery, last Friday there were six jurors who were undecided which prompted Montgomery to tell the judge that he believed that the jury could go back and deliberate more.

"When [the jury] walked out of the courtroom, and we were in the hallway, jurors were beginning to cry and they said,'Thank you, thank you, thank you,'" Montgomery said. "Because at that point and time, we had six individuals who didn't have a decision yet. They felt like how in the world can we just stop when there's some jurors who are dead set on their verdict or their particular decision. We had six who didn't have a chance to look at the evidence, walk through the process of looking at testimony, holding the taser again, and holding the weapon again."

Following the weekend, Montgomery says the number of undecided decreased.

"It was only two individuals at the end on Monday," Montgomery said."They said they weren't in agreement with the other 10."

However, Montgomery said that "under no terms" were the two jurors going to change their minds.

"So instead of sitting there and continue to talk and deliberate, it was best for us to say to the judge and to the court that at this point and time we cannot reach a verdict," Montgomery said.

He described the relationship with the jurors during the trial as "any other conversation when you have to come to a conclusion."

"Some deliberations we had were nice and calm, and some of them got a little bit heated," Montgomery said. "People began to bring in their experiences into the room. I brought my experiences into the room and tried to help them understand with me being an African American male. When you get pulled over there's a certain fear that comes upon you even when you have your insurance, even when you have a license. There's a certain fear."

According to Montgomery, there's no ill feelings between the jurors.

Montgomery also addressed the subject of the jurors asking the court for more clarification on the words "fear" and "passion."

"Slager said the reason why all this transpired is because he was believing it was self-defense," Montgomery said. "So in self-defense it says that he felt fear. And because he felt fear, he feared for his life. So that's why he pulled the trigger when Walter Scott was running away."

Montgomery said the jury wanted to make sure that they all understood what fear was based on the law.

"I believe in some moment, fear was presented. But Michael Slager got caught up in a heat of passion," Montgomery said.

According to Montgomery, he does not believe Slager had malice in his heart when he pulled the trigger on April 4, 2015 and would have gone with a verdict of voluntary manslaughter.

"I can't go with murder because I don't think it was anything malicious," Montgomery said. "I think Slager had a moment when he had lost it in the heat of passion."

Montgomery also addressed the criminal charges against himself that had been dropped during the trial. 

"That is resolved," Montgomery said. "There were no shenanigans. As they tried to say that me and the solicitor had a deal going on the side, all that is false information. None of that happened."

Montgomery had been charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, meaning he was accused of stealing between $2,000 and $10,000, according to the Charleston County Clerk of Court's office.

"So I had a past. I was working at another place. I was discounting items, trying to help individuals in my ignorance," Montgomery said. "And so I didn't do it the right way. And so because I didn't do it the right way, I broke the law."

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