Jury dismissed in Kerrick trial with no verdict, to resume Thursday AM

Jury dismissed in Kerrick trial with no verdict, to resume Thursday AM

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Jury deliberations ended for a second day with no verdict and are expected to continue Thursday morning in the trial of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall Kerrick, charged with voluntary manslaughter in the September 2013 shooting death of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell.

The jury has deliberated about nine hours since Tuesday afternoon.

Less than two hours into Wednesdays deliberations, the jury asked to review eight pieces of evidence: dashcam video, still shots from video, deadly force directives, use of force continuum, and CMPD policy and procedures.

They also asked to see photos of how the cars were positioned and interviews of officers Kerrick, Adam Neal and Thornell Little.

Judge Robert Ervin allowed the jury to view the dashcam video four times in the courtroom for review. Their teamwork was on display as the jurors whispered to each other and seemed to indicate when they wanted to played again, or in slow motion.

The jury foreman also had to poll the jurors to ask whether they wanted to see video and transcripts of the officer interviews. After some discussion, the jurors agreed it would be beneficial to have both.

"It sounds like they're having a mini-trial in the back," said attorney James Exum who has observed the case. "I think they want to make sure they are careful and thorough and that they have a verdict that speaks the truth," he said.

PHOTOS: Click here to see photos from the trial

Kerrick's defense team says he shot Ferrell in self-defense, as Ferrell charged toward him and attempted to grab his gun.

After jurors returned from lunch Tuesday and before beginning deliberations, they asked the judge to read them the elements of voluntary manslaughter.

Tuesday morning kicked off with closing arguments from both sides, the defense and the prosecution. Defense attorney George Laughrun started with a Bible verse, citing the 106th Psalm, and related it to police officers and their work. He said the case was about split-second decisions.

RAW VIDEO OF CLOSING ARGUMENTS: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Laughrun used the same TV screen that was used to show dashcam video that recorded the final moments before Kerrick fatally shot Ferrell. He then played the video in slow motion.

The defense said this is a case about choices. They said Ferrell chose to bang on a door and yell at the 911 caller, and he chose to charge at police officers. Both sides had use of force experts.

Prosecutor Teresa Postell countered Laughrun's claim that the state had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kerrick used excessive force in shooting Ferrell, arguing that Kerrick changed his story about Ferrell reaching behind his back prior to charging at him.

"You have two clues about what a reasonable officer would do. You actually have two officers on the scene," Postell said in court. "One of them pulled a taser. The other one even after the taser didn't work was going to go hands on."

The case against Kerrick has been in the courtroom for five weeks, but the trial was initially expected to last ten weeks.

Prosecutor Adren Harris played the dashcam video in court Tuesday, saying there was plenty of time for Ferrell to be asked questions as he was walking toward Kerrick. Harris said Kerrick had non-deadly options at his disposal and abandoned all his training during the shooting.

Two years ago, Kerrick and other responding officers had identified Ferrell as a possible burglary suspect after a woman called 911 overnight to report a stranger was banging on her door and trying to kick it in.

State prosecutors say Ferrell had been injured after wrecking his car and was seeking help at the woman's house when he was mistaken as a burglar. They argue Ferrell ran in Kerrick's direction after fearing for his life when another officer deployed his taser, with red laser beams pointing at Ferrell's chest.

Kerrick said he acted in self defense and that everything happened quickly.

The trial has put a line-up of CMPD officers on the stand, including the two who responded with Kerrick that night.

Ervin allowed media outlets to livestream the closing arguments and just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, he said he would allow the same for Kerrick's verdict. We will be livestreaming the verdict when it is read, here.

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