Thursday, December 1, 2016

Jurors request witness transcripts of Michael Slager, SLED agent testimonies

Defense requests postponed sentencing

Posted by Dustin Waters on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 4:57 PM

click to enlarge Jurors have yet to decide the fate of Michael Slager - GRACE BEAHM/POST AND COURIER
  • Grace Beahm/Post and Courier
  • Jurors have yet to decide the fate of Michael Slager
As jurors neared their eighth hour of deliberation in the trial of Michael Slager, a request was made for transcripts of the testimonies provided by the former North Charleston officer charged with the death of Walter Scott and SLED agent Angela Peterson.

Peterson served as the lead investigator in Slager’s actions on the day of the shooting. Taking the stand two weeks before Slager offered his testimony, Peterson mainly discussed her interview with Slager and his former attorneys days after the shooting. Peterson took 14 pages of handwritten notes as Slager provided his account of the events that led to Scott’s death. Although Peterson’s notes were not permitted into evidence, she was allowed to refer to the document during her testimony. Prior to meeting with Slager, Peterson visited with Scott’s family to view an eyewitness video of the shooting that agents said contradicted Slager’s statement.

Attorneys for the defense challenged Peterson’s decisions as lead investigator, arguing that a lack of experience with homicide investigations led to gaps in evidence collection. During his questioning of Peterson and closing statements, lead defense attorney Andy Savage claimed that significant differences in the agent’s notes from Slager’s interview and her final report to SLED skewed the narrative of the case to incriminate Slager.

Slager’s attorneys also filed a motion Thursday, requesting that any sentencing be postponed until the probation office has conducted an investigation into the defendant’s background and a report can be presented to the court. In weighing Slager’s guilt or innocence, jurors must consider two possible charges. If found guilty of murder, Slager would face 30 years to life in prison. The lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter has also been offered, which carries a sentence of two to 30 years.

“The defendant submits that a probation report ... would greatly assist this court in imposing sentence,” states the motion. “It would give the court certain details of the defendant’s life, background, upbringing, mental state, physical condition, and other factors that this court should consider in sentencing.”

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