- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 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 September 2013 car crash (all times local):

3 p.m.

Defense attorneys have finished presenting their case against officer Randall Kerrick.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police scientist Eve Rossi testified that Kerrick’s DNA was found under the fingernails of Jonathan Ferrell’s left hand and that Ferrell’s DNA was discovered on Kerrick’s handgun.

Kerrick’s attorneys have argued that Ferrell was moving quickly in the officer’s direction. They say Kerrick opened fire because he feared that Ferrell was going to attack him and take his gun.

Prosecutor Adren Harris noted that Ferrell was on the ground, bleeding. He asked Rossi if DNA could have been transferred from Ferrell if Ferrell lifted his arm and touched the gun as he was dying.

The defense lawyers objected, but Harris later asked: “DNA doesn’t tell us how it happened?”

Rossi responded, “Yes.”

After she finished testifying, the defense rested its case.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

11 a.m.

A police training expert has testified that Officer Randall Kerrick’s use of deadly force was justified.

Dave Cloutier said Kerrick’s decision to shoot Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013 was consistent with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department training.

He said Kerrick was responding to a potentially dangerous 911 call: a man breaking into a woman’s house.

One of Kerrick’s attorneys asked Cloutier if that type of call “would raise an officer’s awareness?”

Cloutier says yes, adding that once Ferrell “began running toward Officer Kerrick, it would aggravate the situation.”

Police Capt. Mike Campagna testified last week the shooting violated department policy.


10:10 a.m.

Officer Jeremiah Dossett testified that after the shooting, he took a police report from Officer Randall Kerrick, who said he was assaulted by Ferrell.

Dossett also said he had known Kerrick for three years.

“Do you know him to have a reputation for truthfulness and honesty?” asked George Laughrun, one of Kerrick’s attorneys.

“He’s truthful,” Dossett said.

But prosecutors asked why Dossett hadn’t been able to speak to the suspect who assaulted Kerrick.

“That party was deceased at the time,” Dossett said.


9:45 a.m.

Officer Randall Kerrick’s defense team has resumed playing a video of an interview with one of three officers on the scene when Jonathan Ferrell was shot to death in September 2013 as police responded to a breaking and entering call.

The attorneys had run into difficulties with the video late Friday, leading Judge Richard Ervin to call a recess until Monday.

Officer Adam Neal had testified earlier in the trial, but the video of his interview was not played.

In his testimony, Neal said he never considered pulling a weapon that night and instead thought the situation would require physical force to restrain the subject. Neal also testified that he did not see Kerrick until he already had fired several shots and was lying in a ditch with Ferrell at his feet.

On the video, Neal said when he arrived at the scene, Ferrell was already advancing toward officers. At that point, Neal said he thought the encounter was “going to be tough.”

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