In a rare break from the secrecy surrounding grand jury deliberations, Charlotte court officials disclosed that a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was indicted this week on a 14-4 vote, reports the Charlotte Observer. That sets the stage for police officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick to be tried on voluntary manslaughter charges, perhaps as soon as the end of this year. Kerrick, 28, is the first Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer charged in connection with an on-duty shooting in at least 30 years.
Kerrick was arrested Sept. 14 in connection with the shooting death that day of Jonathan Ferrell, 24. The former college football player, who was unarmed, was hit by 10 shots, which Kerrick fired from a few feet away during a 2:30 a.m. confrontation. The officer's attorneys say the shooting, though tragic, was justified. Police officials say Kerrick, who had three years of experience at the time, used excessive force. The indictment came on prosecutors' second try. Last week, a panel of jurors declined to indict Kerrick on voluntary manslaughter. Their vote tally remains unknown. The jurors asked state prosecutors to come back with a lesser charge for them to consider.