• Aaron Hernandez left a message of eternal life as he willfully took his own life in prison - Aaron Hernandez was a gifted athlete who led a troubled life. But his suicide caught friends and family by surprise, a week after an quital in court on another case. ...
• Frosty the Snowman provided a chilly break from Florida’s warmer winter weather - Visiting up North was an experience that a Floridian could enjoy, but coming home to warmer weather makes one appreciate Florida. ...
• Women prisoners count their blessings on a tearful Thanksgiving at Lowell Prison - Visits on Thanksgiving were all too short at Lowell Prison where children were asking "Why can't I stay with Mommy?" Columnist Jack Strickland visits at Lowell and writes a riveting story about the emotions of the day as families got together all too briefly. He came away with both a feeling of sadness and of joy. ...
• “Souls to the Polls” march re-enacts history to inspire students at FAMU to vote in the election - FAMU students recreated history on Sunday with a march to the polls to demonstrate the importance of voting and to inspire students to vote in the national election. ...
• Florida women’s prison is nightmare as prisoners endure humiliation, poor medical care, rip-offs - Florida's major prison for women is an endless nightmare for those who have to endure the permanent psychological scarring that results from little privacy, no meaningful rehabilitation, general neglect of medical care by the prisons, and the rip-off of high prices for phone calls and items supplied by private contractors. ...
• Question is whether Adelson family was involved in Markel murder, and motives of the suspects - Questions remain unanswered about release of evidence and possible motives for murder - were suspects trying to extort money from Adelsons? ...
• Small explosion causes chaos at Florida A&M University - An explosion at the FAMU campus Thursday was actually a dishwasher catching fire. However it did cause a scare among faculty, staff and students at the Presidential Dining Hall. ...
• In a surprise appearance, Shaq has a ball inspiring neighborhood kids to dream big - A surprise visit by the former star basketball player to Gainesville and the police department brought out good feelings all around as kids got to play with superstar. ...
• ‘Cash register justice’ for the poor means no justice for many in Florida courts - Prosecutors now seek to extract fees from indigent defendents to help pay office costs, causing possible miscarriage of justice, says national justice center. ...
• If Jeb Bush ever really went to prison in Florida, he wouldn’t get a happy reception - The disaster of corruption, privatized prisons, and loss of competent leadership in state prisons is Jeb Bush’s legacy in Florida. ...
• Court fails to convict police officer in NC shooting death of former FAMU football player - Family pleads for calm as jury fails to find officer guilty in shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell in Charlotte; no decision yet on retrial. ...
• Carson wins best dressed while Trump brings up the rear in the clash of haberdashery at GOP debate - Who was dressed to win the recent GOP debate? Who wore the most stunning tie, and the best cut suit? Looks like neurosurgeon Ben Carson knows how to dress. Donald Trump, who sells a line of clothing, ironically finishes last. ...
• FSU could receive NCAA sanctions similar to those of Penn State sex scandal - Recent events will add up to more problems for Florida State University when NCAA and Title IX investigators report their findings. ...
• Gators end Florida State’s baseball hopes in big wins in Gainesville; on to the Series - Getting back into the College World Series was a dream for both teams, but the Gators managed to teach Florida State a lesson or two. ...
• Miracle of heart transplant puts ‘inoperable’ Rachel, 10, back in the arms of her new family - The dramatic story of how 10-year-old Rachel McCary got her new heart and a new chance to live is told by Jack Strickland who watched closely at the hospital in Gainesville while a miracle was performed. ...
|Lowest Gas Prices in Tallahassee|
|Tallahassee - Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com|
» By the numbers: How Trump stacks up after 100 days
» How artists are marking Trump's 100th day in office
» Former DNC chair slams Trump's 'irrational and extreme agenda'
» Trump: Don't worry, we'll build the wall
» Protesters take on Trump's climate policies -- and the heat
» EPA removes climate change information from website
» Del. senator slams Trump's N. Korea tweet: 'No longer reality TV'
» Democrats' Senate math problem
» Trump labels MS-13 public enemy No.1
» US yellow fever vaccine supply will run out this summer, CDC says
NPR National Headlines
» U.S. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, First Cuban-American Elected to Congress, Retiring Next Year
» How Lives On Both Sides Of Border Towns Have Changed Since Trump Took Office
» Barbershop: Trump's Contentious, Yet Symbiotic Relationship With The Media
» Trump Invites Controversial Philippines Leader To White House
» Trump Stars On Stage He Built Himself, Far From Washington
» President Trump's First 100 Days, In Photos
» The Los Angeles Riots, Race And Journalism
» Reporters Gather For White House Correspondents' Dinner
» Thousands March In D.C. To Protest Trump Climate Policies
» The Call-In: Your Stories About Veterans Affairs
CNN World Headlines
Court fails to convict police officer in NC shooting death of former FAMU football playerAugust 26, 2015
By: Jack Strickland
“We’ve got to keep them from killing our children,” the mother of Jonathan Ferrell, 24, lamented as she stood on the courthouse steps in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Georgia Ferrell spoke through tears as she reacted to the ending, a few moments earlier, of the trial of the police officer who shot and killed her son. The court failed to convict police officer Randall Kerrick, 29, of voluntary manslaughter in the September 2013 shooting of the former Florida A&M University football player.
The two-week long trial ended in a mistrial after the judge determined that the jury was hopelessly deadlocked and could not reach a unanimous verdict. It was reported that the jury was split 8-4 in favor of acquittal of Officer Kerrick. Prosecutors said they have not yet determined if they will retry Kerrick.
In May, Charlotte city officials agreed to pay the Ferrell family $2.5 million to settle a civil lawsuit for the wrongful death of Jonathan Ferrell.
Standing next to his mother on the courthouse steps, Willie Ferrell vowed to keep his brother’s memory alive. He said a campaign has been launched under the name “Justice for Jonathan.” He promised to keep the spotlight focused on inappropriate police treatment of young people.
The Ferrell family is represented by attorney Chris Chestnut. He is a graduate of Florida A & M University. Chestnut urged the public to petition the North Carolina Attorney General urging him to retry the case.
Kerrick was fired within days after shooting Ferrell. The Charlotte police chief said he used excessive force in confronting Ferrell. He determined that deadly force was not justified. He said non-lethal force should have been used to subdue Ferrell. The attorney general and prosecution team agreed.
The defense team strongly disagreed with the police chief, attorney general, and prosecution team. They said Kerrick’s actions were justified because Ferrell’s actions caused the police officer to be in fear for his life.
On the witness stand Kerick testified that he fired his gun 12 times, hitting Ferrell 10 times, because he thought Ferrell was trying to take his gun. He said Ferrell charged him and they tussled before the two of them tumbled into a roadside ditch. It was alleged that Kerrick’s DNA was found under the fingernail of Ferrell, confirming that the police officer was attacked by Ferrell.
At issue was the role race may have played in the incident. Ferrell was black. Kerrick is white.
The jury appears to have voted along racial lines. The composition of the jury was seven white, three black, and two Hispanic.
The incident began around 2:30 a.m. when Ferrell lost control of his car on Charlotte’s winding roads that were unfamiliar to him. He crashed his car into a gully. The car was so severely damaged Ferrell had to kick out the rear windshield to exit the wrecked car. He walked to a nearby neighborhood apparently seeking help.
Testimony documented that he pounded on the door of a home occupied by a young mother and her infant child. The resident said she opened the door thinking it was her husband returning from work without his house keys. When she saw the stranger she said she slammed the door and called 911 thinking the person was a burglar.
Civil rights activists maintained her action was racist. They maintained that she would not have been alarmed or called police if the stranger had been white. They also claimed that Kerrick and other responding officers came on the scene expecting to confront a black man trying to attack a white woman. It was alleged that Kerrick arrived on the scene prepared to shoot to kill.
The housewife and policemen denied that claim.
The failure of the jury to convict Kerrick prompted civil protests and acts of disobedience. Streets were blocked by demonstrators laying down in support of the “Black Lives Matter” campaign.
The Ferrell family pleaded for calm. Willie Ferrell, Joathan’s younger brother, advocated against any acts of violence. “We are not a violent family,” he said. “Johnathan was not a violent person”.
The attorney general gave no indication on when he will determine if the case will be retried.