Attorney discusses rare grand jury decision in CMPD officer shooting case

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Channel 9 is digging deeper after a grand jury made a rare move and refused to indict a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer accused of shooting and killing an unarmed man.

Eyewitness News talked to a defense attorney about this unusual decision and the strategy the attorney general could use when he puts the case back in front of the grand jury again.

Channel 9 doesn’t know what led a grand jury to refuse to indict CMPD Officer Randall Kerrick on voluntary manslaughter charges for shooting Jonathan Ferrell 10 times, killing him last September.

"It's very rare," defense attorney and former prosecutor Tony Scheer said.

Scheer discussed the decision and the additional statement provided by the grand jury asking the district attorney to submit a bill of indictment to a lesser-included or related offense. Attorney General Roy Cooper said he will bring the case back to the grand jury but says next time he wants a full panel. Grand juries are made up of 18 people, but only 12 need to be present to hear cases.

Scheer believes the attorney general will stick with voluntary manslaughter and bring more evidence to the table.

There is a chance the attorney general could still land an indictment once the case is resubmitted to a grand jury. Scheer said he has concerns over whether this case would hold up in a jury trial.

"If you have difficulty getting a grand jury to return a bill of indictment, which is just a finding of probable cause, how are you going to do when it comes to convincing a jury of 12 people at trial beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer committed this crime of manslaughter?" Scheer said.

Scheer said there are usually two different grand juries in Charlotte that serve for six months at a time and alternate weeks.

If it goes before the grand jury again, it could be the same group of jurors or the other group.