CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A second grand jury will hear the case of a Charlotte police officer accused of shooting an unarmed man last year, with a judge rejecting an attempt Monday by the officer's lawyers to stop it.
Last week, a Mecklenburg County grand jury refused to indict 27-year-old officer Randall Kerrick on a voluntary manslaughter charge. Attorney General Roy Cooper decided to send the case to another grand jury because the first grand jury was missing four members.
Kerrick's lawyers filed a motion Friday to stop it, arguing prosecutors cannot resubmit a case.
During a court hearing Monday, Senior Deputy Attorney General James Coman said there was nothing in state law that blocks prosecutors from resubmitting the case.
"Our position is clear. We can go back to a grand jury," he said.
Judge Robert Bell agreed.
"They have the right to go back to a grand jury," Bell said.
At the end of the hearing, one of Kerrick's attorney, George Laughrun, asked the judge to issue a gag order. He said public comments from prosecutors and attorneys for the victim's family were making it difficult for his client to get a fair trial.
But Bell refused, saying that issue wasn't in front of the court Monday.
Investigators say Kerrick shot 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player, on Sept. 14.
Ferrell wrecked his car and went to a nearby house and banged on the door, apparently for help. The resident called police, and three officers responded. Investigators say Kerrick fired 12 shots, 10 of which hit Ferrell. Kerrick was the only officer who fired his gun.
The voluntary manslaughter charge carries a prison sentence of up to 11 years.
Cooper said he was going before a grand jury again because only 14 of the 18 members of the original panel heard evidence in the case.
Attorneys for Ferrell's family criticized Kerrick's motion asking a judge to block the grand jury hearing.
"It appears that this motion was filed solely because Randall Kerrick's attorneys feel their client will be indicted once the full grand jury properly considers the evidence in this case when it convenes on Monday," the statement from attorneys Chris Chestnut and Charles Monnett III said. "We are confident that the motion will be denied and that the case will be heard by the grand jury on Monday as scheduled."
Ferrell's family has filed a lawsuit against Kerrick and police Chief Rodney Monroe in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. The lawsuit says Kerrick used excessive force. The family said the city of Charlotte and the police department failed to ensure its officers are adequately trained and instructed in the use of force.
The city has declined to comment on the lawsuit.