Kerrick to make first court appearance in December

Kerrick to make first court appearance in December

CHARLOTTE, NC (Michael Gordon/The Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall "Wes" Kerrick, accused of manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed man more than a year ago, will make his first court appearance Dec. 11, new records show.

On Sept. 14, 2013, Kerrick shot Jonathan Ferrell 10 times from close range during an early morning encounter in a northeast Charlotte neighborhood. He became the first Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer in at least 30 years to be arrested in connection with an on-duty shooting.

Kerrick, 28, had three years experience at the time of the shooting. Ferrell, 24, had wrecked his car, losing his cellphone in the process, and had knocked on the door of a nearby home in an apparent effort to get help. He was a former Florida A&M football player who had moved to Charlotte to be with his fiancée. That night he had given a co-worker a ride home.

A woman inside the house called 911, reporting that an unknown man was trying to break into her house.

Kerrick, one of three CMPD officers to respond to the call, was the only one who used his gun after Ferrell approached and did not respond to orders that he lie on the ground, police said. Instead, he ran directly at Kerrick, said police.

Kerrick was arrested the same day and charged with voluntary manslaughter. Police Chief Rodney Monroe said his officer had used excessive force. Kerrick's attorneys, George Laughrun and Michael Greene, have called the shooting tragic but justified.

The North Carolina attorney general's office is prosecuting the case after Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray recused himself and his office because he's a former law partner with Kerrick's defense team.

Meanwhile, Ferrell's family has sued the officer, the police chief and CMPD in federal court. Kerrick was placed on unpaid leave shortly after the shooting. Last month, the city of Charlotte also stopped paying for Kerrick's defense in the civil trial.

Kerrick has not appeared in court yet. However, he will be required to attend this "first setting" hearing in Superior Court on Dec. 11.

Laughrun declined comment Friday.