2016 state murder trial ended in a mistrial
, but Slager in May
2017 pleaded guilty to violation of Scott’s civil rights by acting under the color of law
. In ruil
vir die 2017 plea
, state murder charges
, as well as two other federal charges
, were dismissed
The civil rights offense has a maximum penalty of life in prison, though the plea agreement stated that the government would ask the court to apply sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder, which carries up to 25 jare tronkstraf.
Slager’s defense at the time argued for a lesser sentence
, saying that Slager’s actions were more akin to voluntary manslaughter
. A probation officer had recommended Slager be sentenced to
10 aan 13 jare tronkstraf.
Gergel wrote it was Slager, not his legal team, that sealed his fate.
“What sealed petitioner’s fate regarding malice was not the language of his plea agreement or the performance of his defense counsel, but his own willful act of shooting an unarmed man in the back five times as he ran for his life,” Gergel wrote.
“Compounding these horrible facts was petitioner’s inconsistent and obviously false statements about the circumstances of the incident, with which he destroyed his credibility.”
Gergel wrote that Slager, during a sentencing hearing, “attempted to blame the victim,” and now was trying to “blame his defense counsel and the trial judge.”
“But a careful review of this entire tragic episode makes plain that petitioner has no one to blame for his present predicament and sentence but himself,” Gergel wrote. “Petitioner is the architect of his own demise. The court finds that petitioner’s defense counsel ably and zealously represented him, and that petitioner’s claim that he was provided ineffective assistance of counsel is wholly without merit.”
Die 2015 skiet
, then a North Charleston police officer
, shot Scott
, 50, in the back in
2015 as the unarmed man was running away from Slager after a traffic stop for a broken tail light
Slager had tried to use his Taser twice as Scott tried to get away. The first attempt did not stop Scott, and the second deployment dropped Scott to the ground, but Scott got up and took off running again.
Slager initially said he feared for his life because Scott had grabbed his Taser before running away, but the plea agreement contained no such claim.
As a foot chase ensued, a bystander’s cell phone video captured Slager firing eight times, striking Scott five times in the back.