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WFAE's coverage of the case of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of Jonathan Ferrell. The court case ended in a mistrial.

Kerrick's Condition After Shooting Focus Of Morning Testimony; Photos Subject Of Afternoon Arguments

Davie Hinshaw
Charlotte Observer

Update 5:30 p.m.

Jurors in the Randall Kerrick trial were excused twice Tuesday while prosecution and defense attorneys argued how many graphic photos the jury needs to see.

Defense attorney Michael Greene said prosecutors were being excessive by wanting to introduce several photos that showed shooting victim Jonathan Ferrell lying dead in handcuffs.

"This is a voluntary manslaughter trial - we do expect there to be a picture of the deceased," Green said. "But how many, your honor, should be within this court's discretion," Greene said.

Judge Robert Ervin gave a compromise ruling, prohibiting some pictures while allowing others to be introduced.

And 20 minutes later, the jury had to leave the courtroom again after Greene objected to another round of photos.

"We're getting to a point here where we're just showing photos of Mr. Ferrell to evoke sympathy and to perhaps try to sway the jury," Greene argued.

Prosecutors insist the photos are important and showed the placement of different pieces of evidence around Ferrell's body. They agreed to redact a gory portion of one photo so the focus was just on those pieces of evidence.

11:30 a.m.

Testimony this morning in the Randall Kerrick trial focused on the former officer’s condition when emergency crews arrived after the shooting of Jonathan Ferrell. Kenny Phillips of Mecklenburg EMS Agency testified that Kerrick was hyperventilating and distraught.

Under questioning from prosecuting attorney Steve Arbogast, Phillips testified that Kerrick had "swelling to the right side of his face around his jaw. He had a laceration on the inside of his mouth, on his cheek. And he had some dried blood on his lips."

Phillips also said the cut was small and did not affect Kerrick's ability to speak. In addition, Phillips testified that Kerrick did not need first aid. 

The prosecution and defense both repeatedly questioned Phillips and another first-responder about whether Kerrick could have received the cut by biting his own lip. Firefighter Russ Freeze said it looked like he was punched. Phillips with EMS said he wasn't sure and it could've been from a fall.