Slager team files motion to have murder charge dropped

Slager team files motion to have murder charge dropped
Michael Slager in state court last year. (Source: Pool)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The defense team for the former North Charleston police officer who fatally shot a motorist in 2015 has filed a motion to have the murder charge against him dropped.

The motion, filed Thursday morning, requests the murder charge against Michael Slager be dismissed on the basis of double jeopardy clauses of the U.S. and South Carolina Constitutions.

Slager is charged in the April 4, 2015, shooting of Walter Scott, who fled a traffic stop. Slager maintained that he and Scott wound up in a struggle on the ground during which Scott grabbed Slager's Taser, forcing Slager to use deadly force.

The state trial against Slager ended in a mistrial in December when jurors told Judge Clifton Newman they could not come to a unanimous decision of whether Slager was not guilty by reason of self-defense, or guilty of either murder or an alternate charge of voluntary manslaughter.

The motion states jurors were interviewed after the trial and indicated they had agreed Slager was not guilty of murder, but that ten could not reach agreement on the voluntary manslaughter charge with two jurors committed to acquit Slager. Attorneys argue that based on that information, the jury "must be deemed to have reached a consensus on the murder charge, and protections against double jeopardy should prevent Slager from having to be tried for murder a second time.

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