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The Latest on The Jonathan Ferrell Shooting Trial

NC officer not indicted in death of FAMU football player Jonathan Ferrell.
AP Photo

Aug. 13, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A white police officer testified Thursday that he repeatedly fired his gun at an unarmed black man because the man kept charging at him and he didn’t think his weapon was even working.

Holding back tears and in a quavering voice, Officer Randall Kerrick re-created the events of Sept. 14, 2013, at one point yelling “Stop!” and “Get on the ground!” to a nearly packed courtroom as he repeated the warnings he said he gave to former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell.

With a Mecklenburg County sheriff’s deputy stationed to the left of the witness box, Kerrick told the jury that he thought his gun wasn’t working because Ferrell kept coming at him.

“I thought I was going to die because I could do nothing that would stop him,” Kerrick said. He said even when he freed himself after Ferrell fell on his lower legs, he kept his gun trained on him because Ferrell was still moving.

Kerrick said he thought he fired four to six times, but said he now knows it was 12 times. Authorities say he hit Ferrell 10 times. Kerrick was the only officer who fired his gun.

The officer’s was the last testimony of the day Thursday. He was expected to continue testifying when the trial resumes Friday morning.

Police have said that Kerrick and Officer Thornell Little responded to a 911 call from a resident who notified police after Ferrell knocked on the resident’s door early on the morning of Sept. 14. Ferrell had crashed his car and had gone to the house apparently for help, they said.

Some of the testimony prior to Kerrick’s appearance focused on training and whether his use of deadly force was necessary. Some witnesses testified that Kerrick told them he was afraid for his life and that he thought Ferrell was going to try to take his gun.

On Thursday, Little testified that when he first saw Ferrell, he was pacing and hitting his thighs with his hands. Little says Ferrell walked toward him and said, “Shoot me, shoot me!” after which the officer said he reached for his Taser, pointed it at Ferrell and fired. Little says it was after that that Ferrell ran toward Kerrick.

During cross-examination by prosecutor Adren Harris, Little was shown the dashcam video of the incident. In it, the red dots from Little’s Taser lights are visible, but there’s nothing on the audio portion to suggest that Ferrell asked the officer to shoot him.

Little says he gave Ferrell the command to stop, but that wasn’t heard on the dashcam video, either.

Aug. 7, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A detective has testified that a North Carolina police officer told investigators the unarmed black man he is accused of shooting two years ago had “crazy-looking eyes,” and said he feared the man would take his gun.

Detective Edwin Morales was on the witness stand for nearly four hours Friday in the trial of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player.

Relying on memory and a transcript of his interview, Morales said Kerrick told him he yelled at Ferrell to stop after another officer’s Taser failed to affect Ferrell. According to Morales, Kerrick said he fired at Ferrell several times and fell while he backpedaled. He said the gunshots didn’t appear to faze Ferrell.

Aug. 6, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The latest on the trial of a white Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man seeking help after a crash in September 2013 (all times local):

11 a.m.

Officer Adam Neal returned to the witness stand for more cross-examination Thursday and was questioned about his written statement on the night that fellow officer Randall Kerrick fatally shot Jonathan Ferrell.

The defense focused on what Neal wrote and told Charlotte-Mecklenberg investigators about what he saw at the scene of the shooting two years ago.

Neal testified that he heard Kerrick tell Ferrell to get down, but that Ferrell was coming at the officer “hard and fast.” He said he saw a Taser fired at Ferrell, but said that either the Taser missed or Ferrell fought through it. He recalled wondering if Ferrell was “on bath salts or mushrooms.”

On redirect, Neal told prosecutors that he didn’t draw his own weapon and never thought about pulling it. He said he would have opted to put Ferrell in a sleeper hold instead.

Aug. 4, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The latest on the trial of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man seeking help after a crash in September 2013 (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

Paramedics who treated Charlotte officer Randall Kerrick after he fatally shot an unarmed black man have testified that they noted swelling on his jaw and a small cut inside his cheek.

Kerrick shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell, who was looking for help after crashing his car in a Charlotte suburb in September 2013.

Paramedics testified Tuesday, the second day of Kerrick’s trial. They say they first checked Ferrell, who was shot 10 times, and declared him dead. They say they then checked a sweaty and pale Kerrick, who mumbled that he had been hit but didn’t give specifics.

Kenneth Phillips testified that the swelling on Kerrick’s cheek was in the same spot as the cut on the inside of his mouth and that he saw a little dried blood on Kerrick’s lips.

A defense attorney suggested Kerrick was punched or hit. A prosecutor suggested he bit his cheek.