Walter Scott Murder Trial Continues for Officer

Walter Scott

Prosecutors in South Carolina put another crime scene investigator on the witness stand Wednesday, building a case that a white ex-patrolman committed murder when he fired eight shots at a black motorist who ran away from him after wrestling with his stun gun.

Michael Slager’s defense team is attempting to show the state bungled the investigation. Slager is facing 30 years to life if convicted in the April 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott, an unarmed Black motorist who was shot as he tried to run from his car in North Charleston. A bystander recorded Scott’s death on a cellphone video that has been viewed millions of times.

As the state case entered a fifth day Wednesday, crime scene investigator Jamie Johnson, who works for the State Law Enforcement Division, testified about evidence recovered from the scene.

Almon Brown, another SLED crime scene investigator, was being questioned by the defense when court adjourned on Tuesday, but the completion of his cross-examination will wait until Thursday because he had a medical appointment.

Brown testified Wednesday that when he arrived at the scene several hours after the shooting, he was briefed that the shooting happened during a confrontation between Scott and Slager. But he said that scenario didn’t seem to match the evidence from Scott’s body, which showed he had been shot in the back from a distance.

During questioning by Slager’s attorney, Brown testified that investigators combed the scene for three hours. He said three of the four Taser probes fired from Slager’s gun were recovered, including one found in Scott’s body. He testified that the gun was fired twice, so there should have been four probes.

Brown also said that there were no signs on Scott’s body of “stippling,” a pattern of gunpowder residue found when people are shot at close range.

Brown testified that the order to close down the investigation at the scene came from a higher-up.

“Some captain way above your pay grade made that decision,” defense attorney Andy Savage declared, calling the investigation “a rush of three hours at the crime scene.”

The defense contends Slager and Scott wrestled for control of the stun gun. Brown told Savage he recommended DNA testing on the Taser to confirm who handled it. But he said the recommendation was rejected.

“Some captain overruled you?” Savage asked. “Yes sir,” Brown replied.

“You were obligated to look to confirm the truthfulness of what Mr. Slager said,” Savage told him.