Attorneys for Michael Slager want murder charge dismissed

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Attorneys for a former North Charleston police officer whose case last year ended in a mistrial want the murder charge against him dismissed.

Lawyers for Michael Slager write in the 12 page motion filed Thursday that jurors’ behavior indicated they’d determined Slager wasn’t guilty of murder in the death of Walter Scott but couldn’t decide on the lesser but included charge of manslaughter.

For that reason, his lawyers say, a second jury shouldn’t be able to consider murder again.

They base their belief on questions the jury raised to the judge during deliberations about the lesser charge. They believe their questions show they had already made a decision on the murder charge. The defense writes in the documents that follow-up interviews with the jury found they would have acquitted Slager of murder. They claim 10 jurors could not reach an agreement on the manslaughter charge, and two were committed to quitting him.

The defense say they want to protect their client from double jeopardy, since they believe the jury would have found him not guilty of murder in the first trial.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson responded to the motion Thursday.

“In our view and based on our conversations with several jurors, Mr. Savage has overstated some of the jurors’ positions regarding murder.  We are continuing to monitor this case in federal court and stand ready to pursue the state charges if necessary.”

Slager is charged with shooting Scott to death after Scott tried to flee a traffic stop in April 2015. The shooting was captured by a bystander on cellphone video.

Slager’s retrial is set for August. His federal trial on charges he violated Scott’s civil rights is scheduled to begin May 1.

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