CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A new, 18-member grand jury will hear prosecutors’ case against CMPD Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick on Monday. A 14-member panel already refused to indict Kerrick for voluntary manslaughter. Under statute, only 12 jurors are required, but Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office says he wants a full panel to hear the case. A spokeswoman for Cooper says there is no limit on the number of times a case can be re-submitted to a grand jury.
Kerrick’s attorney George Laughrun calls it sour grapes. He tells WCCB he’s looking at options his client has before Monday.
Twenty-seven-year-old Kerrick is accused of killing 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell in September. Toxicology reports show Ferrell had alcohol in his system that night, but was not legally drunk. Ferrell wrecked his car in east Charlotte after dropping off a co-worker. Officers showed up after a woman called 911, claiming Ferrell was trying to break in her front door. Cops say Ferrell charged them. Investigators say Kerrick fired 12 shots at Ferrell, hitting him 10 times.
Chief Rodney Monroe spoke briefly about the case Wednesday. He says, “I believe we were correct with what we initially charged, but we’re gonna allow that criminal process to play itself through, and we’re going to accept and support whatever decision comes out of that process.”
Kerrick is suspended without pay. UNC Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology Professor Dr. Vivian Lord predicts that no matter the outcome, his police career is over. She says, “What he’s done is not considered acceptable police procedure. More than likely he’s going to be terminated, and he won’t be hired by another department.”
A civil suit filed by the Ferrell family claims CMPD failed to properly train employees. Lord says that concern is a public relations issue the department must swiftly address. She says, “Police, a lot of times they sorta see themselves as the expert. And they are. They are. But they do serve the community, and it’s important for them to be asking, ‘Okay, how do we move forward?'”
WCCB has reached out to Jonathan Ferrell’s family attorney several times this week, but have not yet heard back.