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Lawyers for police officer accused of shooting unarmed man ask for new trial venue

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Attorneys for a former North Carolina police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed former college football player want his trial held in another county.

In motions filed by attorney George Laughrun in Mecklenburg County on Friday, they also asked for witnesses to be sequestered and for the jury to be brought to the shooting site.

The attorneys say it's unlikely Randall Kerrick can get a fair trial in the county because of extensive news media coverage that they said would prejudice jurors.

Laughrun also filed a motion to allow the jury to see the site where investigators say Kerrick fatally shot 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player, on Sept. 14, 2013. Ferrell was looking for help after being in a car crash, but the resident of a home where he banged on the door called police.

After a grand jury refused to indict Kerrick in early 2014, a judge ruled that Attorney General Roy Cooper could resubmit it. Despite efforts by Kerrick's attorneys to stop it, Cooper decided to send the case to another grand jury because the first grand jury was missing four members. An indictment came down one week later.

Police say that Ferrell crashed his car and went to a nearby house and banged on the door, apparently for help. Three officers responded to the resident's call for help. Investigators say Kerrick fired 12 shots, 10 of which hit Ferrell. Kerrick was the only officer who fired his gun.

Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter, which carries a prison sentence of up to 11 years.

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