MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One of three men accused in the shooting of an off-duty Miami-Dade Police officer went to court Monday for the start of his trial for allegedly trying to kill a police officer.
Willie Barney, 19, along with his alleged accomplices Dedrick Brown, 20, and Travares Santiago, 20, all face charges including attempted murder with a firearm and armed robbery with a firearm.
Prosecutors say the trio approached Miami-Dade Police Officer Wislyn Joseph on September 22, 2012 when Officer Joseph was volunteering with his father at a church in Liberty City. Police say the group demanded Joseph’s jewelry and then shot him right in the chest.
Police say it was Barney who pulled the trigger.
Prosecutors say they have a strong case which includes recovery of the handgun used in the crime and DNA evidence. However, Barney’s defense attorney is fighting the DNA evidence.
Monday’s hearing was in a failed defense effort to have the court block admission of items of evidence against Barney, including the recovered gun and Barney’s DNA that prosecutors say was left on the victim.
During the pretrial hearing, Officer Joseph testified to what happened the night he was shot.
“I suddenly heard ‘don’t move, give me everything.’” Officer Joseph testified.
He said the suspect, Barney, trained a pistol on him as he complied with orders to surrender his Gucci bracelet.
“He felt I was taking too long so he yanked it off, “Joseph said. “He reached then and grabbed the gold chain which was on my neck.”
The officer testified the gold chain was a gift that his grandmother gave to him on her death bed.
Joseph testified he raised his hands in surrender.
“My hands were like this,” he said, demonstrating. “A motion that I didn’t have anything else.”
Joseph testified that Barney leveled a .45 caliber pistol at him and fired a round at point-blank range “in center mass,” striking him in the chest.
“When I looked, I realized that I was bleeding. I lifted up the shirt and I noticed the blood was just pumping, pumping out. At which time I told my dad, ‘apply pressure!’”
Joseph then made his own 911 call, using police jargon to help the emergency operator understand his situation.
A jury to hear the case is expected to be seated by Tuesday.