Documents show why Michael Slager sentenced 20 years instead of life

Updated: Dec. 15, 2017 at 6:15 PM EST
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Michael Slager in state court last year. (Source: Pool)
Michael Slager in state court last year. (Source: Pool)

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - New court documents show more details about why Michael Slager was sentenced to 20 years instead of life in prison for the fatal shooting of Walter Scott.

The former North Charleston police officer was sentenced last week for violating Scott's rights.

Court transcripts show that Judge David Norton believed Slager committed second-degree murder  because he shot an unarmed, fleeing Walter Scott in the back, and also lied to State Law Enforcement Officers.

That means he qualified for life in prison.

But Norton said there were a few things he considered to bring that sentence down.

The judge decided Slager is "susceptible to abuse in prison" because he's a police officer, and the case got so much publicity.

Plus he had already gone through a "five week state trial ending in a mistrial" and then faced a separate federal trial.

All of these things helped lower the sentence.

Attorney Charlie Condon said there's a federal points system that guides judges on how many years to sentence.

Essentially, Condon said the judge knocked down Slager five levels from life to 20 years.

Judge Norton said, "No matter what sentence I give, neither the Scott family nor the Slager family is going to like it or think it's right."

Experts say Slager has 15 days to appeal his sentence.

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