Jury to decide whether to convict Del City officer for shooting unarmed teen

Courtesy the AP

Nearly two years after a deadly, officer-involved shooting, a jury will decide one police captain's fate

Del City Police Captain Randy Harrison has been on trial for a week. He's charged with first degree manslaughter for shooting and killing 18-year-old Dane Scott Jr.

Closing arguments will happen Monday morning, then the case will go to the jury.

"In this case a jury may not be able to reach a decision," said Fox 25 Legal Analyst David Slane.

Slane knows the case and those involved with it well. He says a trial where an officer faces life in prison is very unusual.

"Typically we defer to those decisions that they make because we put them in such a tough decision-making spot," Slane said.

Police say Harrison arrested Scott for drug-related charges before. And an affidavit shows he took a handgun from Scott the day of the scuffle.

The report says when Scott ran, Harrison shot at him three times before hitting him in the back. The report continues, saying Scott was not posing a threat at the time.

"He doesn't know if he has two guns," Slane said. He says despite the report, Harrison still made a strong argument in court.

"When he testified that this was the first time in 25 years that he fired his weapon, I think that may have really come home to that jury that this wasn't some cowboy cop that just pulled his gun and started shooting," Slane said.

Defense attorneys have also tried painting Scott as a trouble-maker and drug dealer.

"Almost the "who cares" defense. If you shot him and they were a bad guy who really cares, maybe you did us all a favor," Slane explained.

He says it could come down to the "fleeing felon rule," whether the jury believes Scott was violent or threatening to Harrison or the public at the time of the shooting. Harrison testified that he feared for his life at the time of the shooting.

"I think it will take 'em (the jury) some time, I think they're gonna struggle with it and I think by late tomorrow we're gonna know what the verdict is."

Last week members of the jury went to the scene of the crime to see it in person. That's also a very unusual aspect of this case. Slane says it's unclear whether seeing the small, confined area surrounded by fences will help sway them toward the prosecution or defense.

If convicted, Harrison faces between 4 years and life in prison.