CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A majority of the jurors in the trail of Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of black motorist Walter Scott, are undecided about a verdict in the case, according to a note the jurors provided to the court on Monday.
The note also asked a number of questions of the court, including why was voluntary manslaughter added as a charge, how long must someone have malice in their mind toward someone to be convicted of murder. Jurors also asked whether the definition of self-defense for a police officer is different for an average person.
The jury has now deliberated more than 17 hours over four days in the trial, weighing whether to acquit Slager or find him guilty of murder or voluntary manslaughter in the 2015 shooting death of the 50-year-old Scott. Slager is a former North Charleston police officer.
On Friday, it appeared that the stalemate involved only one juror. The juror sent a letter directly to the judge saying he could not “with good conscience approve a guilty verdict,” while the other 11 wanted to convict. The juror added he was not about to change his mind.
Jurors said Friday they were deadlocked because one juror “wasn’t moving,” but a foreman then told a judge further explanation of the law might help them reach a unanimous decision. The panel continued deliberations and recessed for the weekend before returning again Monday morning.
Monday’s note said that a majority of the jurors on the panel of 11 whites and one black were still undecided.
Slager has testified he was in fear for his life, but prosecutors told the jury they should focus on the video of Scott fleeing as the shots were fired and convict the former officer. The shooting stunned the nation after a bystander captured the scene on a cellphone video, images that have been played multiple times in the courtroom during the trial.
A judge on Monday again denied a defense motion for a mistrial as jurors continued to deliberate.