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The latest: former policeman gets 20 years in prison for firing



The latest on the federal conviction of a former South Carolina cop for the death of an unarmed motorist (all locals):

12:15 p.m.

A former white policeman in South Carolina has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting an unarmed black motorist in 2015.

A federal judge handed the sentence to Michael Slager on Thursday. Slager pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott's civil rights by unfairly shooting him in the back five times while fleeing a traffic stop.

In defending a lighter sentence, Slager's lawyers told the judge that the former North Charleston and Scott officer fought on the ground and Scott took his paralyzing weapon during the fight.

A video of a spectator did not capture the fight, but it showed Slager shooting Scott as he fled.

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2; [19659002] 11:50 a.m.

A defense attorney says that a former white officer from South Carolina must be sentenced at the lower end of the guidelines that is being considered by a federal judge.

Andy Savage said Thursday that he believed it would be appropriate for Michael Slager to receive about 19 years in prison for shooting a black motorist in 2015.

District Judge David Norton said before that the shooting was a murder in second grade and that would use a range of sentencing patterns of between 19 and 24 years when he decides the fate of Slager.

Slager pleaded guilty in May to violating Walter Scott's civil rights when he shot the unarmed motorist, fleeing five times in the back after a traffic stop.

During tearful statements in court, several members of Scott's family said they forgave the officer and were praying for him.

10:45 am

The mother of a murdered black motorist says she forgives the former South Carolina white policeman who killed her son.

Judy Scott on Thursday turned to Michael Slager and said that his faith in God gives him the ability to forgive him for killing his son, Walter Scott.

She also told Slager that she expected him to repent for the murder and allow Jesus to enter his heart.

Through tears, the mother spoke as part of a hearing during which a judge will decide how much time Slager spends in prison for the murder in April 2015 after a traffic stop. Earlier on Thursday, District Judge David Norton ruled that the murder was murder in the second degree and said he would work according to guidelines that recommend Slager go from 19 to 24 years in prison.

Slager pleaded guilty in May to violating Scott's civil rights.

10:15 am

A federal judge ruled that a former South Carolina officer committed a second-degree murder when he shot dead an unarmed black motorist.

District Judge David Norton made that determination in the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott.

The decision comes as part of a federal sentencing process for Michael Slager. The former North Charleston officer has been in jail since he pleaded guilty in May to violating Scott's civil rights, and Norton has the task of deciding how long he will spend in prison.

Norton also said that Slager obstructed justice when he made statements to state police after the shooting.

This week, federal prosecutors and Slager's lawyers have called witnesses to testify about technical aspects of the case, including what happened with Slager's stun gun before the shooting. The officer has said that he shot Scott in self-defense after fearing for his own life when the man grabbed the gun and turned it towards him.

3:30 a.m.

For three days, lawyers representing the federal government and a former South Carolina officer charged with the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist have presented technical evidence to a judge regarding how long Michael Slager should spend in federal prison.

That includes the use of the Slager stun gun, which The former officer says Walter Scott grabbed him and turned on him, causing Slager to fear for his life and shoot in self-defense. Slager, who is white, fired five times against Scott's back while fleeing.

On Thursday, lawyers are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who will tell the judge how Scott's death and the officer's arrest have affected his life. What is known as victim impact testimony is intended to help the judge weigh up the personal implications of a crime.


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