It took roughly 3 hours for the jury to decide Christopher Slaughter’s future. He was found guilty on all five counts. The most serious charge is aggravated assault on a police officer. He was convicted of recklessly hitting Harrisburg police officer Daniel Pieper as well as Selena Martin with his car in April of last year. “There is no reason this had to happen. He could have just pulled over and stopped for the police. He ran because he had six point three grams of cocaine he took off at high speed” said Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo.
The guilty verdict was welcome news to both officer Pieper and Martin. “They’ve waited a long long time. There’s been a lot of delay by the defense. And I’m sure they are both gratified to get some closure” said Chardo. Slaughter’s defense attorney, Jay Whittle, had maintained that the officer who initially pulled him over violated policy by never getting approval from a supervisor to pursue Slaughter when he took off. “I think it should some what be common sense that that would be considered at least as a violation of policy. In the end they came back with a guilty verdict” said Whittle.
More than a dozen Harrisburg city cops were also in court showing support for their fellow officer. Slaughter’s older sister Toniesha was also in the courtroom. “Now to have to watch our brother be found guilty, you can’t, I can’t describe the pain. I can’t even describe the feelings that I feel right now” said Toniesha. The families of the victims, and slaughter will never be the same. There’s a mandatory minimum of 10 years that Slaughter will serve. His sentencing has been scheduled for October 14th.
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Back in April of 2013 Christopher Slaughter was involved in a crash that critically injured Harrisburg police officer Daniel Pieper and Selena Martin. “Nobody claims that he did it intentionally, but that’s not what we have to prove” said Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo. In order to prove the charges of aggravated assault, prosecutors do have to make Slaughter’s state of mind clear to the jury when Slaughter refused to stop after being pulled over. “All we have to prove is that he acted recklessly and with extreme indifference to the value of human life. Fleeing from the police at high speed constitutes recklessness” said Chardo.
However the defense attorney, Jay Whittle, said there’s more to the story. “Ultimately this crash did occur, but the police officers involved were also in violation of their own department regulations” said Whittle. Whittle said that the sergeant who initially stopped Slaughter was in a high speed pursuit when Slaughter failed to pull over, but that the sergeant never got approval for the pursuit from a supervisor. Whittle also said he plans to tell the jury it was actually officer Pieper’s driving that caused the crash, not Slaughter’s. “He doesn’t believe he’s the causing factor for the injuries, but he does feel awful that the people are injured, he mentioned that yesterday. He feels that officer piper was the the vehicle that hit him” said Whittle.
Slaughter’s ex wife Latoya has been at the trial since it started and says ultimately three families have been affected. She said “we make mistakes. Things are not intentionally done. Two people got hurt, even if they were bystanders or not I feel for them, as they go through their pain and their injuries and what they’re going through and what their families are going through cause we’re going through something right now as well.” The prosecutor said that the Jury will most likely reach a verdict on Wednesday.