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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 Trial Update: Testimony Of Officer On Scene Wraps Up

Todd Sumlin
Charlotte Observer
Randall Kerick listens to testimony Thursday morning.

Update 12:45pm

Testimony from the officer who recorded the dash cam video in the Randall Kerrick trial was challenged by the prosecution on several counts.

In cross examination by the defense, CMPD officer Adam Neal said he saw Jonathan Ferrell, the unarmed black man who was shot and killed by Kerrick two years ago, run toward Kerrick and another officer on the scene just before he was shot. But in sworn testimony yesterday, Neal said he was not able to see Kerrick until after the first four shots were fired and did not know where the other officer was positioned.

“You based your report on where you thought Kerrick was, but you didn’t see where the defendant was positioned until you saw him on the ground,” said Prosecutor Adren Harris. “So your statement here is not accurate.”

Neal agreed his earlier statement was inaccurate and said, “Jonathan was in front of me and the officers were to my right and Jonathan ran to the right. I can’t tell you where the officers were.”

Neal also told the prosecution that he was considering putting Ferrell in a sleeper hold when he saw the Taser did not keep him from running. Yesterday, in cross- examination by the defense he said he did not shoot his gun or fire his Taser because he feared hitting Kerrick by mistake, who was on the ground with Ferrell at the time. In testimony today, he again said he never considered using his firearm.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin instructed the jury to take the inconsistencies and consistencies in Neal’s testimony into account in determining his credibility.

The defense focused on Neal making his initial statements after working a full night shift and then being on the crime scene late to do walk-throughs for investigators. Defense attorney Michael Greene also questioned Neal about statements he made initially that he thought Ferrell was possibly on bath salts or mushrooms when he approached police and ran through the Taser.

The prosecution again pointed out in questioning that Neal never saw anything in Ferrell’s hands, but the defense had Neal explain to the jury that suspects often have weapons hidden in their waistbands, socks and their back area.

Credit Todd Sumlin / Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

In other developments, the front storm door and a screen door from the home of Sarah McCartney, the homeowner who called 9-1-1 when Ferrell knocked on her door after he was in an accident nearby. She told the dispatcher she thought he was a burglar. CMPD crime scene investigator Rachel Clark said she took samples of what appeared to be blood from both doors. The defense said in an opening statement that Ferrell banged on McCartney’s door so hard that he dented the door. Clark said there were small dents on the bottom of the door, but no major damages.

“The door was still in the frame and was fully functional,” Clark said.  “The lock was functional and intact…the hinges on the door were not damaged.”

The medical examiner official who performed the autopsy on Ferrell’s body is currently testifying. Dr. Thomas Owens said nine of Ferrell’s gunshot wounds were to his body and one bullet hit his left arm.

“They caused different degrees of injury to his body,” Owens said. “He had abrasions, scratches and cuts in the skin of his forehead area. No injury to the brain. There were small scrapes on the right forearm and his wrist area.”

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.