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Officer indicted on voluntary manslaughter

Jan. 27, 2014 at 5:08 PM   |   Comments

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A North Carolina police officer has been indicted on voluntary manslaughter following a second grand jury hearing in as many weeks, prosecutors said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrick will stand trial on the charge, a grand jury decided Monday, just days after an earlier panel declined to indict him on the count, seeking a lesser charge. The decision came after North Carolina Superior Court Judge Bob Bell granted prosecutors' request to resubmit the charge, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Kerrick was arrested Sept. 14 in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell, 24. Kerrick, called to the scene after Farrell, who was unarmed, was seen knocking on a homeowner's door and seeking help after a traffic accident, fired 12 shots at Ferrell, striking him 10 times.

After last week's lack of indictment, state Attorney General Roy Cooper announced plans to take the case before another grand jury.

Kerrick's attorneys filed a motion saying Cooper did not have that legal authority, and also argued Cooper's comments about the case, calling voluntary manslaughter "the most appropriate charge given the facts in the case," was improper and an attempt to influence the grand jury's deliberations.

Bell also refused to issue a gag order against lawyers representing Ferrell's family Monday, the newspaper said, a decision that angered Kerrick's defense team.

"How in the world is that grand jury supposed to go into that courtroom and make a decision when you've also got the NAACP outside?" defense attorney Michael Greened asked Bell.

"How is Randall Kerrick supposed to get a fair trial and due process?"

The case has turned into one of the highest profile legal fights in the Charlotte area in recent memory, with family for the victim calling out police brutality as the reason for the young man's death.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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