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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.

Ferrell's Wreck, Kerrick's Wounds Focus Of Testimony

Charlotte Observer

Much of Tuesday's testimony in the Randall Kerrick trial focused on the accident that 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell was involved in the night he was fatally shot, and the wounds that Kerrick's attorneys say he sustained during a struggle for his gun.

WFAE's Gwendolyn Glenn and Morning Edition host Marshall Terry discuss the day's events.

Marshall: Let’s start with Kerrick’s wounds. How serious were they?

Gwendolyn: According to testimony yesterday by the first emergency official on the scene, John Freeze, Kerrick told him that he had been punched by Ferrell. He said he saw a small laceration on the inside of Kerrick’s mouth and some swelling on the outside. When asked how the injury occurred he said he could not say, but he did say it was not consistent with someone biting their lip. The prosecution asked if it could have happened from a fall and Freeze said that was possible.

Gwendolyn: A CMPD paramedic supervisor, Kenneth Phillips, who was also on the scene said when he approached Kerrick, sitting in a police cruiser about 30 to 40 feet from Ferrell’s body, he was hyperventilating, sweating, pale, and his blood pressure was high.

Marshall: I understand a lot of the testimony concerned the car accident Ferrell was involved in before the shooting. What happened there?

Gwendolyn: Yes, they focused on the layout of the road from many angles where it happened, the lack of lights on the curved stretch where Ferrell ran off the road into the woods, and showed pictures of the mangled car from numerous angles. The car was wedged between trees and a tree was under it on one side as well. The front and back windshields were out, there were tree limbs stuck in the twisted front of the car and the radiator.

Marshall: Why do you think this is key in the trial?

Gwendolyn: I’d speculate that the prosecution wants to show that Ferrell was in a horrific accident and may have been dazed and distraught when he knocked on the door of Sarah McCartney. She’s the homeowner who took Ferrell for a burglar and called 9-1-1. The defense has portrayed Ferrell as almost out of control when he knocked repeatedly on her door, but the prosecution may be trying to show that he was understandably anxious, and possibly confused and hurt from the accident.

Marshall: Evidence was also presented from items taken from his car, right?

Gwendolyn: Yes, and also along those same lines of the prosecution’s seeming strategy. One of his shoes was taken from the driver’s floorboard, an investigator testified, and the other one was in the backseat. Police found his cell phone in the car, backing up the prosecution’s assertions that Ferrell had no way to call for help and was seeking assistance at the nearby home. Ferrell’s mother and other relatives left the court room when these items and other clothing and personal things of his found in the car were displayed in court.

Marshall: Any noted changes in the defense’s strategy?

Gwendolyn: The defense still contends that this is a case of Kerrick defending himself when they say Ferrell grabbed for his gun and a justified shooting. The defense objected Tuesday more than once to the prosecution showing pictures of Ferrell lying on the ground in handcuffs after he died. They said this was a ploy by the prosecution to garner sympathy from the jury. The judge allowed a couple to be shown but not all of them.  Testimony continues Wednesday.