CHARLESTON, S.C., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- An expert witness called by the defense team in former North Charleston, S.C., police officer Michael Slager's trial has testified burns found on the officer's uniform came from a Taser.
"It burns in a certain way," biomedical scientist Mark Kroll, who has worked for the stun gun manufacturer, said on Monday. "It's not like a flamethrower; it's not like a cigarette lighter ... There's nothing I can think of ... that could have caused that damage besides the Taser electrical weapon being used against Slager's shirt."
Slager is facing a murder charge in the death of 33-year old Walter Scott, who was shot eight times while running away from Slager after a traffic stop in North Charleston on April 4, 2015. Slager faces from 30 years to life imprisonment if convicted.
Slager's defense said the shooting of Scott was justified because Scott got control of Slager's Taser during a confrontation and tried to use it against the officer. Fearing that Scott could get his pistol, Slager acted in self defense, the defense said.
The prosecution said the burn marks could not have come from Scott using Slager's Taser because of the distance Scott had to travel between when the Taser was allegedly used and the distance Scott was from Slager when Scott was first shot. At the distance the defense said Scott used the Taser, the Taser would not have likely caused burns, the prosecution said.
Megan Fletcher, a scientist for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED, said she could not determine the source of the burns.
"I cannot say it definitively did," Fletcher said of the burn marks being caused by a Taser. "I can't say it definitively did not."