Chances for a new Kerrick trial, no decision yet

Chances for a new Kerrick trial, no decision yet

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - No one received closure Friday afternoon when the voluntary manslaughter case against a Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer ended in a mistrial following a hung jury.

WBTV learned from sources close to the case that the jury swung eight to four, in favor of a "not guilty" verdict.

Officer Randall Wes Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter for shooting unarmed Jonathan Ferrell ten times on September 14, 2013.

His defense attorneys, George Laughrun II and Michael Greene, argued self-defense. They said Kerrick feared for his life when Ferrell charged toward him reaching for Kerrick's gun.

State prosecutors assigned to the case from the Attorney General's Office argued that Kerrick used excessive force and should have used a non-lethal alternative during the confrontation. They said in court that Ferrell feared for his life when another officer shined a taser beam on his chest.

Dashcam video shows Ferrell running toward Kerrick, the moment the taser is deployed. A jury deliberated nearly four days before telling Judge Robert C. Ervin there was no possible way to reach agreement.

Legal analyst and defense attorney James Exum said he would be surprised if the State pursues a retrial

"All those circumstances were put into play and a jury got to make a determination. Eight to four is still a pretty significant division," said Exum.

Both sides presented evidence that could be turned around to help the other side; from dashcam video to Officer Kerrick's testimony to the scrutiny of CMPD policies on excessive force.

"I think most reasonable minds see it going either way and there's nothing to suggest that even if we had a new trial, it wouldn't be hung all over again,"
said Exum.

Ferrell family supporters have circulated petitions online asking the Attorney General's Office for a retrial. Meanwhile, Kerrick supporters have also started online petitions requesting the opposite.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Roy Cooper told WBTV he has not made a decision yet.

His team of prosecutors will have to weigh cost, the first failed indictment, whether witnesses will grow more reluctant, and whether any of their strategy could change. The evidence will remain the same.

If they do not seek a retrial, the charge against Kerrick would likely be dismissed.

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