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Judge weighs 2 decades in prison for ex-cop’s fatal shooting

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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.

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David Palacio’s bus driver to testify today against man accused of striking and killing him

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Joshua Block and his wife walking out of Onslow County Superior Court. [Gerald Jackson/News In Onslow]

The trial of the Texas native accused of killing 16-year old David Palacio, Joshua Aaron Block, who is charged with two felonies, involuntary manslaughter and passing a stopped school bus, will continue into its third day on Wednesday.

16-year-old, David Palacio

On the morning of March 27, 2017, David Palacio was crossing Dawson Cabin Road to board his school bus when Block, who was attempting to pass the bus, struck the teen.

On Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney, Jamie Askin made his opening statement, making sure to include that bus had its arms extended and stop sign out when Block who was traveling in the opposite direction at 56 MPH, struck Palacio.

The prosecution called their eyewitnesses to the stand throughout the day on Tuesday. The first witness to take the stand was 16-year old Cody Guidry, a former resident of Jacksonville who attended Dixon High School, was riding the bus on the day of the incident. He told the court that he was seated at the front of the bus when he heard a “thump.” At this point, Guidry said that he went to the other side of the bus and seen David lying in the road.

The second witness for the prosecution said that he was behind the school bus, which was a complete stop. Two cars were approaching from the opposite direction, the witness said he then checked his phone, turned his head and then heard a loud boom. According to the witness, people in the neighborhood were running out of their homes yelling “OMG.” He also said that Block did not slow down.

David was in his driveway when the bus came to a complete stop, this, again, was according to the proesectutions second witness. He started approaching the bus but the witness was not sure if the bus driver signaled to David that it was safe to cross.

Later, his testimony started to become inconsistent with the written statements he gave to law enforcement. He could not remember what statement he gave first telling Block’s Defense Attorney, Ed Bailey, that he wrote the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office statement first before writing the statement for N.C. Highway Patrol.

A paramedic who responded to the call on March 27, 2017, Alex Tremaine, testified for the prosecution and said that the call came in roughly after 6:30 a.m. His shift started around 6:20 a.m. When he arrived on the scene, he stated that he saw a man holding Palacio in the roadway and begging them for help. That man was Joshua Block. The Onslow County Paramedic continued, detailing the injuries that Palacio sustained, and one in particular, “open fractures”, was questioned by the prosecution. Tremain explained that you could see where Palacio’s bones had been broken.

The bus driver of bus 104 is expected to testify Today, December 13.

 

 

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BUSTED!!!! Onslow County teacher charged after having sexual relations with his student

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YOU SO NASTY!!!!!!!

Uh-Oh, looks like another Teacher with Swansboro High School caught again.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office received a report that a student had been in a sexual relationship with a business/vocational teacher at Swansboro High School, according to a press release.

The report of the sexual relationship came in on December 6, 2017. An investigation by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit revealed that over the past four months, Zachary Todd Daugherty, 28, of Country Club Road in Jacksonville was having a sexual relationship with one of his 17-year-old female students, according to press release by Onslow County Sheriff’s Department.

Daugherty was arrested December 12, 2017 and charged with:

(6) Counts Sex Act with a Student

(3) Counts Indecent Liberties with a Student

Daugherty was transported to the Onslow County Detention Center under a $45,000 secured bond.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective K. Johnston at keith_johnston@onslowcountync.gov, or Crime Stoppers at

910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2017-021988 when calling.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

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Man accused of striking and killing a 16 year old Dixon student in March, jury selections starts today

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Jury selection begins today in the case of Joshua Aaron Block, a 26-year-old Atascosa, Texas man who has been charged in the death of 16-year-old David Palacio.

16-year-old, David Palacio

Joshua Aaron Block has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and passing a stopped school bus causing death, both which are felonies. On Monday, March 27, 2017, David Palacio was crossing Dawson Cabin Road to board his school bus. Block struck the teen when he attempted to pass the bus.

Mr. Block told the North Carolina Highway Patrol, that he was headed to the gym and had forgotten his ID. During the time, the bus was stopped with the lights on and stop arm out when Block allegedly passed the bus driving in the opposite direction.

Jurors will be selected to hear the case this morning.

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