By MEG KINNARD
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A white former South Carolina police officer committed second-degree murder when he shot an unarmed black motorist to death and should expect to spend about two decades in prison, a judge said Thursday as he prepared to sentence the ex-officer for a federal civil rights violation.
Before U.S. District Judge David Norton announced the punishment, he had to decide whether Michael Slager’s shooting of Walter Scott in April 2015 was manslaughter or murder. After the judge’s decision, he said he’d work from guidelines that recommend Slager spend 19 to 24 years in prison.
A formal sentence was expected later Thursday, after the judge hears testimony from Scott’s family and friends. Scott’s mother, Judy Scott, said through tears that her faith in God gives her the ability to forgive Slager. Scott’s brother Anthony Scott echoed that sentiment.
“I’m not angry at you, Michael. Michael, I forgive you, and Michael, I do pray for you now and for your family, because we’ve gone through a traumatic time,” he said.
Attorneys for ex-North Charleston Officer Michael Slager said he shot 50-year-old Walter Scott in self-defense after the two fought and Scott reached for Slager’s stun gun. They said race didn’t play any role in the shooting and that Slager never had any “racial animus” toward minorities.
Still, Slager pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Scott’s civil rights. As part of the plea agreement reached in May, prosecutors dropped state murder charges. A year ago, a state judge declared a mistrial when jurors deadlocked.
A bystander captured the shooting on a cellphone, and it was shared around the world, setting off Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S. as demonstrators said it was the perfect example of police officers’ mistreatment of African-Americans.
The bystander started recording after the struggle between Slager and Scott. The video showed Scott running away from Slager and the officer firing eight times. Scott was hit in the back five times.
After the shooting, Slager picked up his stun gun and placed it next to Scott. Slager contends he was securing the weapon. Prosecutors think he put it there to bolster his self-defense story.
The judge also found that Slager, 36, obstructed justice when he made statements to state police after the shooting.
On Wednesday, Scott’s youngest son spoke so he could return to his high school classes. Clutching a photograph of his father, Miles Scott said he has had trouble sleeping ever since his father’s death. He said he misses watching football games with his dad and can’t fathom not being able to watch with him the game they both loved.
“I miss my father every day,” Miles Scott said through tears. “I would like you to sentence the defendant to the strongest sentence the laws allows because he murdered my one and only father.”
Federal officials recommended 10 to nearly 13 years in prison. His attorneys argue Slager should face far less time.
March For Our Lives event held in Greenville
Over 120 people will be rallying today in Greenville NC as part of the March For Our Lives rally that’s focused in Washington, D.C.
Students, teachers and others from around the world will march to demand the end to gun violence and mass shootings in our schools.
Eastern NC will participate in the March at the Pitt County Courthouse starting at 12 noon.
The event happening in Pitt County this afternoon is organized by students and parents.
This event is a non-partisan event with no divisiveness behind it, according to organizers.
Stricter gun control and legislative change is the goal around the world today.
Onslow County Schools refuse to release the name of sub. teacher that duct taped student’s mouth
Onslow County Schools will NOT be releasing the name of a substitute teacher at Dixon Elementary who “briefly” duct-taped the mouths of four students Monday.
Director Of Community Affairs at Onslow County Schools, Brent Anderson, said in a press released that the incident happened Monday at Dixon Elementary School. He said that the school’s assistant principal “immediately entered the room and made sure the tape was removed and any further action stopped.”
Anderson claims that the Onslow County School system is “shocked and outraged by this behavior” and that they will not “tolerate it now or in the future.” Anderson may be naive to the fact that, things like this happen in Onslow County Schools almost every day but it’s not “addressed” until it becomes an issue and the public has knowledge of it. Hopefully, Onslow County Schools can also address the bullying by teachers to students in Onslow County Schools rather than agreeing to arm teachers in Onslow County Schools.
In the press release, Anderson “assured” that the substitute teacher who identity is unknown, “was immediately removed from any further duties, as well as removed from substituting in the future with the Onslow County School District.”
Dixon Elementary School Principal Glenn Reed spoke to parents and the students involved, assuring them that the teacher would not return.
One arrested for Jacksonville’s St. Patrick’s Day murder
The family of a man who was killed over the weekend in Jacksonville will never be able to see their loved-one again, but tonight the accused killer is behind bars.
Police say, John V. Deavers, 28, of Estate Drive in Jacksonville is accused of assaulting and stealing money from 28-year-old William Young.
Captain Ashley Weaver with Jacksonville Police Department said that Young was assaulted around 6:45 pm.m Saturday near Ronnie’s Classic Auto Sales on Gum Branch Road. The two men knew each other, according to officials.
Young returned to his apartment later Saturday where he died as a result of his injury, according to Weaver.
He was found dead in his Indian Drive apartment Sunday Morning.
Officials say they charged Deavers Thursday night with an open count of murder and common law robbery.
He is in the Onslow County Jail without bond.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact JPD Detective Jason Lagana at 910-938-6414 or email@example.com or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information leading to apprehension or arrest. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their identities. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637. Refer to Case 18-02617 when calling or texting about this case.