CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Closing arguments have wrapped up in the federal sentencing trial of a former South Carolina police office facing prison time for the shooting of an unarmed motorist.
Attorneys for Michael Slager reiterated their argument that the officer was afraid, not malicious, when he shot Walter Scott five times in the back following an April 2015 traffic stop.
Federal prosecutor Jared Fishman said Slager changed his story of what happened multiple times and wasn’t justified in shooting Scott.
A judge is deciding whether Scott’s shooting was murder or manslaughter. The former North Charleston officer faces a possible life sentence, although federal officials have recommended far less. Scott’s youngest son on Wednesday asked a judge to levy the harshest possible sentence.
Court will reconvene Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Both sides are expected to call witnesses to give statements on the impact the shooting has had on them and weigh in on a possible sentence.