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updated: 12/7/2017 9:21 AM

The Latest: Judge: Ex-South Carolina cop committed murder

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  • FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, former South Carolina officer, Michael Slager, right, walks from the Charleston County Courthouse under the protection of the Charleston County Sheriff's Department after a mistrial was declared for his trial in Charleston, S.C. Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist, Walter Scott, in 2015, could learn his fate as soon as his federal sentencing hearing winds down. On Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who'll tell the judge how Scott's death and the officer's arrest have impacted their lives.

    FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, former South Carolina officer, Michael Slager, right, walks from the Charleston County Courthouse under the protection of the Charleston County Sheriff's Department after a mistrial was declared for his trial in Charleston, S.C. Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist, Walter Scott, in 2015, could learn his fate as soon as his federal sentencing hearing winds down. On Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who'll tell the judge how Scott's death and the officer's arrest have impacted their lives.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - In a Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager testifies during his murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S.C. Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist in 2015,  could learn his fate as soon as Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2017, as his federal sentencing hearing winds down on its third day.   (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP, Pool, File)

    FILE - In a Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager testifies during his murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S.C. Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist in 2015, could learn his fate as soon as Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2017, as his federal sentencing hearing winds down on its third day. (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP, Pool, File)
    Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, Judy Scott, center, Walter Scott's mother, is comforted by her son Rodney Scott, as the family attorneys, Chris Stewart, left, and Justin Bamberg, right, hold a press conference after a mistrial was declared in former South Carolina officer, Michael Slager's trial in Charleston, S.C.  Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist, Walter Scott, in 2015, could learn his fate as soon as his federal sentencing hearing winds down. On Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who'll tell the judge how Scott's death and the officer's arrest have impacted their lives.

    FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, Judy Scott, center, Walter Scott's mother, is comforted by her son Rodney Scott, as the family attorneys, Chris Stewart, left, and Justin Bamberg, right, hold a press conference after a mistrial was declared in former South Carolina officer, Michael Slager's trial in Charleston, S.C. Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist, Walter Scott, in 2015, could learn his fate as soon as his federal sentencing hearing winds down. On Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who'll tell the judge how Scott's death and the officer's arrest have impacted their lives.
    Associated Press

 
 

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Latest on the federal sentencing of a former South Carolina police officer in the death of an unarmed motorist(all times local):

10:15 a.m.

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

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

The ruling comes as part of federal sentencing proceedings for Michael Slager. The former North Charleston officer has been in jail since pleading guilty in May to violating Scott's civil rights, and Norton is tasked with deciding how much time he spends in prison.

Norton also said 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 to Slager's stun gun before the shooting. The officer has said he shot Scott in self-defense after fearing for his own life when the man grabbed the weapon and turned it toward him.

___

3:30 a.m.

For three days, attorneys representing the federal government and a former South Carolina officer charged in an unarmed black motorist's shooting death have presented technical testimony to a judge considering how much time Michael Slager should spend in federal prison.

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

On Thursday, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who'll tell the judge how Scott's death and the officer's arrest have affected their lives. What's known as victim impact testimony is intended to help the judge weigh the personal implications a crime has had.

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