A state judge refused Tuesday to again delay the trial of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, saying an upcoming federal trial of accused shooter Dylann Roof a week later should not impact the case.
Slager is charged with murder and other counts for the April 2015 traffic stop death of Walter Scott. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlet Wilson had requested a rescheduling, saying she has concerns about Slager’s trial coming so close to Roof’s Nov. 7 federal trial. Wilson’s office will prosecute Roof once the feds are finished, with jury selections currently scheduled in December.
Wilson told reporters it will be difficult to handle two high-profile cases. “If jury selection in the state Roof trial is not moved, it’s going to be taxing on us,” she said. “That’s going to be a challenge. But, if we have to do it, we’re going to do it.”
State Circuit Judge Clifton Newman said he’s under no obligation to change dates based on the proceedings of other courthouses. “I’m not inclined to change anything based on some moving target involved in other developments in other cases in other places,” he said during Tuesday’s proceedings.
Slager faces life in prison on the state’s murder charge for Scott’s death. The case got national attention after a bystander filmed Slager shooting Scott in the back as Scott ran from a struggle. Slager was released on $500,000 bond back in January after nearly nine months in a Charleston County jail.
Also complicating matters is that Slager’s attorney Andy Savage is representing some family members of the Emanuel AME Church victims. Savage, who was not at Tuesday’s hearing, has previously said he planned to attend Roof’s federal trial.