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Heated moments during preliminary hearing of Slaughter - abc27 WHTM

Heated moments during preliminary hearing of Christopher Slaughter

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Christopher Slaughter Christopher Slaughter
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Emotions ran high during a contentious preliminary hearing for a man accused of causing a violent crash in Harrisburg, critically injuring a police officer and innocent bystander.

"Man, get up out my face," yelled Christopher Slaughter as he slumped into court. Two police officers escorted the 30-year-old, dressed in an orange jumpsuit with his wrists and feet shackled.

Slaughter's preliminary hearing was held at the office of District Justice Robert Jennings III on Cameron Street. The small courtroom was packed tight with more than a dozen Harrisburg police officers in uniform.

Many were present to support injured officer Daniel Peiper, whom officials stated remained in the Intensive Care Unit at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Slaughter's family also attended the hearing.

A police officer and two detectives testified during the hearing. All said Slaughter was initially pulled over for not using a turn signal around 6:15 p.m. on April 20.

One detective stated officers were in the Uptown Harrisburg area conducting a phase of Mayor Linda Thompson's Neighborhood Safety Zone initiative. They said officers were told to be on the look out for a blue Lincoln Aviator. Officers said they were given a license plate number.

When the vehicle was spotted, one officer watched closely. When a man got out of the passenger side and walked away, the SUV pulled into traffic without a turn signal.

The officer testified this was his reason to pull over the vehicle. The officer said he and his partner pulled the vehicle over near North Sixth and Schuylkill streets. When the passenger-side officer got out of the police unit and approached the SUV, they said the vehicle took off.

According to testimony, the officer followed the vehicle that turned off of Sixth Street down Radnor and subsequently turned onto Jefferson Street. The officer stated he went up to 51 mph on Radnor, but never went any faster.

The officer said he witnessed the vehicle weave in and out of traffic while traveling on the one-way Jefferson Street. The officer said that is when he lost sight of the vehicle.

The officer then testified he pulled up onto the scene of the crash that involved Slaughter, Officer Daniel Peiper and bystander Selina Martin.

Assistant District Attorney Jason McMurry with Dauphin County circulated photos from the crash scene that day. McMurry later spoke with abc27 News and described the photos.

"It looks like a bomb had gone off," he said. "This is not just a traffic accident. This is a reckless act done by an individual that caused a lot of serious injuries."

At that time, Officer Daniel Pie per was said to be unresponsive. Peiper's K-9, Thor, was trapped in the police unit as well. And, according to surveillance video previously obtained from Young's Market by abc27, the video showed a trapped Selina Martin, whom moments before was sweeping the sidewalk.

During testimony, one detective said during an interview with Slaughter, the defendant stated that he "panicked."

The response got many groans from Slaughter's family members inside the courtroom. After the hearing, they voiced their frustrations with prosecutors.

"Yes, the Slaughter boys do have a bad wrap out here. So, I do think [police] have pulled my brother's name from his license plate and seen that it was him, and they started to mess with him and that's why my brother panicked," said Toniesha Slaughter.

When Slaughter was taken out of the courtroom, abc27's Dave Marcheskie asked him about his sister's comments; however, he remained silent.

Before the hearing ending, Slaughter's defense attorney Robert Kulling attempted to throw out several charges including aggravated assault. However, Judge Jennings decided the 23 chargers against Slaughter would stick and he would tend trial on August 13 with Dauphin County Judge Todd Hoover presiding over the case.

When Jennings slammed his gavel, a family member of Slaughter yelled, "We can't win."

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