A judge declared a mistrial Monday afternoon in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man at the hands of a South Carolina former patrolman, after the jury said they could not come to a unanimous verdict.
In a statement read by Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, the jury said "We as the jury regret to inform the court" that they were unable to come "to a unanimous decision in the case of the state versus Michael Slager" after a day of questions and deliberation.
"The court therefore must declare a mistrial in this case and I so declare that is case is mistried," he said after the jury returned to the room and confirmed their decision.
The jury had remained undecided — but not deadlocked — on Monday in the murder trial.
The defense in ex-patrolman Michael Slager's the five-week trial claimed that he feared for his life when 50-year-old Walter Scott got control of the officer's stun gun and pointed it at him.
But Scott was shot five times in the back while running from Slager during a routine traffic stop.
@TheRevAl: An unarmed man shot in the back running in N. Charleston on TAPE and you can't get a conviction!!!
Slager was fired from the North Charleston police department after his confrontation with Scott on April 4, 2015 led to Scott's death.
Slager had been charged with murder in Scott's killing, although the jury was also allowed to consider a lesser verdict of manslaughter. He had faced 30 years to life in prison if convicted.
Slager also faces trial next year in federal court on charges of violating civil rights laws, obstruction of justice and using a firearm while committing a act of violence.
The court had resumed session at 9 a.m. on Monday after a lone juror on Friday he could not convict Slager and the jury wanted to continue deliberating.
The jurors had sent a note to the judge earlier Monday saying, "The majority of the jurors are still undecided and we would like help with the following questions."
The jury wanted clarification on why they were given an option of manslaughter. They also wanted definitions of "sufficient provocation," "imminent danger," "forethought" and "self-defense."
Defense attorney Andy Savage had asked the judge for a mistrial after their statement, but that request was denied by Judge Newman.
The jury was asked to keep deliberating at around 12:45 p.m. ET and returned to the courtrooms shortly after 3:30 p.m., a little while after defense attorneys sought to have the jurors given further instructions.