The prosecution rests after nine days of testimony in the Slager trial
The prosecution rests in the trial of former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager after nine days of testimony with 32 witnesses and experts. Slager is charged with murder in state court for the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. The then on-duty cop stopped Scott for a broken brake light. The April 2015 shooting captured on cell phone video by a bystander.
Prosecution witnesses included family and friends of Scott to give the jury a picture of the South Carolinian and the events of Saturday April 4, 2015.
Multiple North Charleston Police officers and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agents testified about the response and interviews following the shooting.
Multiple experts testified on everything from video to ballistics and Tasers. The jury saw videos and or heard audio of the crime several times. The last two people the prosecution called on Wednesday, November 16 were experts that showed re-creations of the crime scene to the jury.
Bill Williams testified for more than three hours about the methodology he used to create the synced video and animation. He compiled dashcam video, dispatch audio, and bystander Feidin Santana’s cell phone video to create a timeline of the crime. He then showed the jury that video.
During cross examination Defense Attorney Donald McCune questioned how exact Williams’s methods were.
“You were hired to compile information,” he said. “And to give a presentation to the jury that is fair and accurate in a case where matter of split seconds and a matter of inches is significant.”
Williams responded, “Certainly the time is important as far as the distance is concerned…on the criteria of how far Mr. Scott is away from Mr. Slager inches don’t make a difference in my opinion.”
McCune concluded cross examination and the prosecution called its last witness SLED crime scene special agent James Tallon. He walked jurors through the crime scene virtually. Special equipment was used to create 3D versions of the scene. He was able to approximate that the shooting occurred more than 582 feet from the original traffic stop.
After the prosecution rested, the defense moved for a directed verdict. With that motion, the defense asked the judge to direct the jury to return a verdict in its favor. According to South Carolina law, the judge can direct this if there is a failure of evidence in the record tending to prove the charge in the indictment, in this case murder. Judge Clifton Newman denied the motion saying that based on the evidence thus far the jury can still infer Slager acted with malice.
Defense attorneys called their first witness David Hallimore, an audio enhancement and clarification specialist. Formerly with the Houston Police Department, now he adjusts audio recordings to make speech easier to hear and understand.
He analyzed audio from Santana’s cell phone video and Slager’s body microphone. He played clarified and slowed audio from those recordings for the jury multiple times. A faint utterance is audible, but it is almost impossible to make out what is said.