• Kerrick Trial - Day 9 - July 30

    By: Mark Becker


    What to know:

    • Randall "Wes" Kerrick is accused of shooting and killing unarmed Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013.
    • The first witness could take the stand before the week is over.
    • Dash cam video will be released during the trial.


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Officer Randall "Wes" Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of unarmed black man Jonathan Ferrell in 2013.

    Friday 9:20 a.m. update: The judge in the manslaughter trial of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick said he will allow a camera in the courtroom. There will be no tweeting or Internet access in the court room, but laptops and phones will be allowed for taking notes. Opening statements will be held Monday.

    Thursday 4:37 p.m. update: Judge Robert Ervin has allowed cameras in for several pre-trial hearings, but said he will decide if the cameras will be allowed for the entire trial.

    Kerrick is charged with killing Jonathan Ferrell almost two years ago.

    Ferrell was unarmed when Kerrick shot him 10 times.

    For the first time since his trial began, Kerrick was not in the courtroom Thursday, as his attorneys and prosecutors argued over the testimony of several expert witnesses.

    State prosecutors plan to call a CMPD captain who has trained officers on use of force. He’s expected to say that Kerrick violated CMPD policies on use of force, but Kerrick’s attorneys do not want him to tell jurors that Kerrick broke the law when he shot Ferrell.

    Kerrick’s attorneys will have experts of their own who are expected to say why Kerrick’s shooting should be justified, and prosecutors want some of their testimony limited as well.

    Ervin is giving attorneys Friday off to line up witnesses and prepare their cases.

    He set opening statements for 9:30 a.m. Monday with the first witnesses to follow.

    Thursday 12:22 p.m. update: A judge is considering whether he'll allow cameras inside the courtroom once the trial begins Monday.

    For the first time since court proceedings began last week, Kerrick was not in court Thursday morning as attorneys discussed how much several expert witnesses will be allowed to say when they testify.

    One witness is a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police captain who worked at the training academy and is an expert on the use of force. Prosecutors plan to call him to the stand to testify that Kerrick violated department policy when he shot Ferrell.

    But the defense team does not believe he should be allowed to say that Kerrick violated the law when he did that.

    Kerrick’s attorneys plan to call on their own expert, who will testify about why Kerrick fired those 12 shots.

    Prosecutors don't want him to be able to tell the jury what Kerrick or Ferrell may have been thinking in those critical moments -- for example, whether Kerrick may have thought that Ferrell was trying to get his gun away from him.

    They are very fine points, but the kind of legal arguments that can be expected to be heard during the testimony.

    The judge also said he will make a decision Friday morning whether he will allow a camera in the courtroom when testimony begins Monday.

    Thursday 9:17 a.m. UPDATE: On Thursday, the judge will hear motions in the trial.

    Channel 9 is hoping to find out whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom.

    Attorneys selected alternate jurors Wednesday after filling out the 12-person jury Tuesday.

    Randall “Wes” Kerrick claims he shot Jonathan Ferrell in self-defense in 2013.

    Attorneys will make opening statements Monday.

    “Opening statements, it's been shown, are often more important than closing statements because it's the first exposure to the case that the jury gets,” said legal expert James Wyatt.

    The judge hasn't said yet how much time each side will get for opening statements.

    On Tuesday night, Ferrell's family expressed concern about receiving a fair trial -- before opening statements have even begun. They believe there aren't enough African Americans on the jury.

    The jury consists of seven whites, three African Americans and two Hispanics.

    Census figures show that Mecklenburg County's population is 49 percent white and 32 percent black. The jury will be 58 percent white and 25 percent black.

    There is one African American male juror, which civil rights activists expressed relief over.

    “We definitely need someone who looks like Jonathan Ferrell (on the jury),” said activist John Barnette.

    But Ferrell’s family says it's not enough.

    • CLICK PLAY -- Georgia Ferrell speaks about the trial at church:

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    “We are not going to get a fair trial in North Carolina. It's already been shown to us. We are not getting a fair trial. We need to not just vote but be willing to serve as a juror,” said Georgia Ferrell, Jonathan’s mother.

    Legal experts said there were jurors who were not picked because of admitted biases.

    Kerrick case background

    Randall "Wes" Kerrick is accused of shooting and killing unarmed Jonathan Ferrell on Sept. 14, 2013.

    Three officers were called to the 7500 block of Reedy Creek Road in east Mecklenburg County around 2:30 that morning. A woman told police Ferrell was banging on her front door.

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Ferrell ran toward the officers when they arrived. One of the officers deployed his Taser, but it was unsuccessful. Kerrick fired his weapon 12 times at close range. Ten of the shots hit Ferrell, killing him.

    Police later discovered a wrecked car that Ferrell was driving about 500 yards away. Officers say Ferrell was unarmed.

    Around 9:30 p.m. Sept. 14, 2013, Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter, marking the first time an officer in Charlotte had been charged with manslaughter for actions on duty.

    Kerrick was released from jail on a $50,000 bond. He remains suspended without pay from CMPD.

    Ferrell, a former football player at Florida A&M University, was living in Charlotte with his fiancée. A toxicology report released in November showed Ferrell had 60 mg/dl of ethanol in his system, equal to a .06 if blown during a DWI check point. The legal limit in North Carolina is .08.

    The Ferrell family filed a civil suit against the city, county, CMPD and former Police Chief Rodney Monroe on Jan. 14, 2014. The suit was settled in May 2015 for $2.25 million

    George Laughrun and Michael J. Greene will represent Kerrick. His attorneys were hired by the Fraternal Order of Police.

    Recent stories:

    Channel 9 will have a team of reporters covering the Kerrick trial each day. Follow @wsoctv on Twitter for continuous updates.

    Twitter handles for reporters who will be covering the trial:

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