Michael Slager, who used to work as a North Charleston officer, has been in jail since pleading guilty in May to violating Walter Scott's in the April 2015 shooting following a traffic stop.
However, Savage said his client believed that Scott could have been armed based on the fact that he fled from the traffic stop which was initiated by a broken brake light on Scott's auto.
"Norton had two options for the underlying offense that could affect Slager's penalty: voluntary manslaughter or second-degree murder".
"No matter what sentence I give, neither the Scott family nor Slager family is going to like it or think it's right", the judge said in a Charleston courtroom. The defense argued for a lenient sentence, claiming that Scott had resisted and grabbed the Taser and that Slager had feared for his life.
Michael Slager (right) walks from the Charleston following a mistrial a year ago.
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Retired North Charleston officer Wade Humphries, a former indirect supervisor of Michael Slager, called Slager his "go-to" man in the department and said that Slager was following his training when shooting at the suspect "until the threat cease [d]".
The sentencing hearing reconvenes Tuesday morning and could last several days.
The federal prosecution hammered in the fact that Scott was running away when the first shot was sacked and continued to run away until he fell.
Defense lawyers say Slager has accepted responsibility for the shooting. Scott jumped out of the vehicle and ran. A bystander recorded the incident, in which Scott was hit five times from behind, sparking a national outcry.
During his state trial previous year, Slager testified that he feared for his life when Scott grabbed for his weapon and charged at him.
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The shooting was caught on video by a witness.
Anthony Imel, an Federal Bureau of Investigation expert specializing in audio and video analysis, testified Monday how he enhanced Santana's video to highlight where Slager's stun gun lay, on the ground, several feet behind the officer as he ran after and shot Scott. And, Norton said, Slager obstructed justice by his inaccurate statements to law enforcement after the shooting. Slager has maintained he was merely securing the weapon.
Slager pleaded guilty to the charge earlier this year.
State prosecutors had tried Slager for murder last fall, but the judge declared a mistrial after a mostly white jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict-either on the charge of murder or a lesser manslaughter charge.
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