Michael Gordon and Elizabeth Leland, THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
CHARLOTTE (The Charlotte Observer) — The voluntary manslaughter trial is fully underway for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick, who is accused of wrongfully killing Jonathan Ferrell in a late-night encounter in 2013.
Twelve jurors and four alternate jurors have been selected. They will decide whether Kerrick used excessive force when he fired 12 shots at Ferrell, or whether he was justified because he thought Ferrell posed a deadly threat.
The 12-member jury has two people who are Latino, three African-American and seven white. Eight are women and four are men. The alternate jurors are all white, and consist of one man and three women.
If convicted, Kerrick faces three to 11 years in prison. He has been on unpaid suspension since the shooting.
According to police, Ferrell wrecked his fiancee’s car on his way home after an outing with friends and sought help at a house in a neighborhood east of Charlotte. The homeowner, afraid someone was trying to break in, called 911. Kerrick and two other officers responded, and the deadly confrontation ensued.
Ferrell, 24, had moved to Charlotte from Florida to be with his fiancee. He was a former scholarship football player for Florida A&M University. He was working at both Best Buy and Dillard’s at the time of his death.