The former North Charleston, South Carolina police officer who is currently behind bars for fatally shooting Walter Scott as he ran away wants his 20-year sentence reduced.
According to CBS News, ex-cop Michael Slager filed a motion to vacate or correct his sentence after claiming that his counsel was ineffective. On Monday (April 12), Slager’s new attorneys argued that his former defense, led by lawyer Andy Savage, provided their client with ineffective counsel which led to his hefty sentencing. On Tuesday (April 13), the former officer testified that he only agreed to a plea deal after Savage told him that Judge David Norton stated that he did not believe this was a murder case.
Slager said that his attorney assured him that he would not receive that much time behind bars after hearing the judge’s comment, which is why he signed the plea deal. He also testified that Savage never told him about another plea deal that was offered by the government.
“Because Andy expected and told his client that’s not going to be a problem — that it’s not going to be murder, it’s going to be below that — therefore the guidelines would be lower,” said former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon.
Richard M. Gergel, the judge who is assigned to this case, said, “malice was found because a law enforcement officer was shooting an unarmed man in the back and then lied about it.” He also stated that Slager is responsible for his own fate and is now trying to blame his former defense after previously blaming the victim during the trial. “I think calling Mr. Savage ineffective is ridiculous,” the judge said.
Slager shot and killed Scott during a traffic stop in 2015. Initially, he claimed he shot the 50-year-old in self-defense during a scuffle for his stun gun, but a witness captured the shooting on their cell phone. The video showed Scott running away as Slager shot him in the back multiple times. The former cop was later sentenced to 20 years behind bars.