Crime & Courts

Ferrell family vows to fight on, calls for new trial

Ferrell family responds to mistrial

After four days of deliberations, a mistrial was declared Friday when the jury was unable to resolve a deadlock in the case of Randall “Wes” Kerrick, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer accused of killing an unarmed man in a struggle two years
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After four days of deliberations, a mistrial was declared Friday when the jury was unable to resolve a deadlock in the case of Randall “Wes” Kerrick, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer accused of killing an unarmed man in a struggle two years

Jonathan Ferrell’s family on Friday called for a new trial of the police officer accused of killing their son.

Two hours after a judge ordered a mistrial in the voluntary manslaughter trial of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick, Georgia Ferrell, the dead man’s mother, and her son Willie called for the Attorney General’s Office to bring the charges back.

The family’s attorney, Chris Chestnut, said the jury had not seen all the evidence, including the video of Kerrick’s re-enactment of the shooting the day after it occurred. Chestnut, a Florida lawyer, said Kerrick’s comments in the re-enactment contradict a police dashcam video of the events leading up to the shooting and raise more questions about Kerrick’s credibility.

Chuck Monnett, the Charlotte attorney who handled the family’s successful lawsuit against the city, also questioned the absence of the re-enactment video.

“I was shocked they didn’t show it,” Monnett said Friday night. “It really does contradict everything on the dashcam.”

Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked 8-4, with the majority wanting to acquit Kerrick.

The family met afterward with state prosecutors Adren Harris, Teresa Postell and Steve Arbogast. Chestnut said the family asked for a commitment for a new trial against Kerrick. “They said they could not give us a commitment,” Chestnut said.

Chestnut said the family and the city need closure. “Take away Officer Kerrick’s badge and he’s a murderer,” Chestnut said.

George Laughrun, Kerrick’s attorney, declined to discuss Chestnut’s comments Friday night.

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said the office would have no comment beyond the statement prosecutors gave after the trial.

The Ferrells were in court almost every day of the month-long trial. In his closing argument, defense attorney George Laughrun thanked them for their courtesy and grace.

When the Ferrells spoke in front of the Mecklenburg Courthouse, protestors who only moments before had been shouting “Stop killing us!” a few yards away became quiet and gathered to listen.

Georgia Ferrell, who has been battling health issues, said she is willing to go through the ordeal of another trial.

Willie Ferrell asked the city to remain peaceful. He said his brother’s spirit remains in Charlotte. Open your door to him, Willie Ferrell said. Let him sit at your table.

“I am Jonathan Ferrell,” he said.

“I am Jonathan Ferrell,” Georgia Ferrell added.

Missing from the courtroom for the verdict was Jonathan Ferrell’s fiancee, Caché Heidel. The couple had moved to Charlotte the summer of 2012 when Heidel accepted a job with one of the city’s major accounting firms.

Heidel testified for the prosecution and then sat in on closing arguments with her family. Friday night, she declined comment.

In an interview with the Observer last month, she said she both longed for and feared the end of the trial.

She said her long-range plans of marrying and having a family with Ferrell were gone, but she has given herself two years to decide whether she’ll stay in Charlotte.

“After those two years, I don’t know,” she said. “So I’m scared for those two years to end because I don’t know how I’m going to make this decision.

“It’s like, Jon was the motor for my car. I did everything based on us.”

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS

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