The Latest: Slager witness testifies about child support

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Posted: Nov 21, 2016 5:04 PM
The Latest: Slager witness testifies about child support

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The latest in the trial of a former South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting of an unarmed black motorist (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

An attorney who practices mainly in family court has told the jury in the Michael Slager murder trial how the child support system works in South Carolina.

That's key in the case of Slager, the white former North Charleston patrolman who is charged in the April 2015 slaying of Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist shot while fleeing a traffic stop.

Scott's family has said he may have fled because he worried about going back to jail because there was an outstanding bench warrant for not paying support.

Attorney Amanda Haselden, testifying for the defense, said someone arrested on a bench warrant goes to jail until they can appear before a family court judge. But she said courts generally don't want to keep someone locked up if they have a job because getting the money for the children is their top concern.

Scott was employed at the time of the shooting.

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2:25 p.m.

The defense is laying out a case that Michael Slager, the white former South Carolina patrolman charged in the death of an unarmed black motorist, was stunned by his own Taser in a struggle before the shooting.

Slager faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder in shooting death of Walter Scott in April of 2015. The 50-year-old motorist was killed as he fled a traffic stop in North Charleston, the shooting captured on a bystander's dramatic cellphone video.

Mark Kroll, an expert on the effects of electrical shocks, testified Monday that melted fibers on Slager's uniform could only have been caused because he was stunned at close range with a Taser.

A South Carolina Law Enforcement analyst testified earlier that she wasn't aware of any other heat source that could cause the damage but couldn't say definitively that it was the result of a stun gun.

The defense contends Slager and Scott struggled over the stun gun on the ground before Scott was shot as he ran away.

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1:30 p.m.

Gov. Nikki Haley is asking South Carolinians to pray for healing amid two racially charged murder trials in Charleston and the recovery from Hurricane Matthew.

Haley on Monday called on all places of worship to hold a prayer vigil at noon Tuesday. She also wants church bells to be rung statewide.

The governor says she will be at "Mother Emanuel" AME Church in Charleston, where nine black worshippers were gunned down last year. A judge is weighing whether the white man accused of killing them is competent to stand trial.

The murder trial of former North Charleston officer Michael Slager is continuing. He's accused of fatally shooting a black motorist in the back as he fled.

Haley says "we don't know what's going to come out of these murder trials." She says it's important "we all come together" and reflect.

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11:15 a.m.

A witness has testified that gunpowder residue was found on the hands of Walter Scott after he was shot while fleeing a traffic stop in South Carolina.

Former North Charleston patrolman Michael Slager is charged with murder in the shooting death of Scott, a 50-year-old black motorist whose shooting in the back was captured on cellphone video that stunned the nation.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division analyst Megan Fletcher, who was called by the defense, testified that gunpowder residue was found on the palm and back of Scott's right hand and the back of his left hand.

She said gunpowder residue can be transferred by holding a weapon, being shot a weapon or touching a weapon recently fired.

The defense contends that before the shooting the two men wrestled on the ground and Scott got control of the officer's stun gun.

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9:45 a.m.

The trial of former police officer Michael Slager in the death of a black motorist is now expected to last into December.

Slager is standing trial for murder in South Carolina in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. Slager was working for the North Charleston police department in April 2015 when he pulled Scott over during a traffic stop and then shot him.

A bystander caught the shooting on video, which sparked national outrage after it was shared on the internet.

Defense attorney Andy Savage told Judge Clifton Newman on Monday that he will need until Wednesday or Thursday of next week to present its case. Defense witnesses are coming to Charleston to testify from as far away as Washington state, New York City and Canada.

The case entered a fourth week on Monday. Before resting last week, prosecutors called 32 witnesses over nine days.

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3:30 a.m.

The defense in the Michael Slager murder trial is focusing on the seconds before the white former South Carolina police officer shot and killed an unarmed black motorist.

Slager is charged in the April 2015 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott as Scott fled from a traffic stop. The shooting was captured on cellphone video that stunned the nation.

The defense, which contends the two men wrestled and Scott got control of the officer's stun gun just before the shooting, continues its case Monday.

Slager's trial is entering its fourth week in Charleston.

Last week, a video analyst testified that the shaky and blurry cellphone video shows the two men wrestled on the ground and Slager was entangled in Taser wires before the shots were fired.