Testimony Resumes In Trial Of Man Accused Of Attacking Dade Detective
South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBS4) – Testimony resumed Thursday in the trial of a man accused of attacking a Miami-Dade police detective with a cinder block.
Michael Robertson, 36, is charged with attempted first degree murder and carjacking.
Before the start of testimony, the judge took up the matter of one of the twelve jurors who admitted to falling asleep during Wednesday’s testimony. Both sides agreed not to dismiss her but rather make her an alternate.
On the stand Thursday morning, a detective with Robbery Intervention Detail who came to undercover Detective Carlos Castillo’s aid the night of the attack testified that she was deeply affected by what she saw.
“There was a lot of blood on and around his head,” said Det. Monica Rios. “I went down on my knees and tried to see what other injuries he had. He was having difficulty breathing. His breaths were short and fast. I tried to speak to him to let him know that we were there but he did not comprehend.”
“I was in shock, there is no other way to explain it. You are just in shock when you seen your partner, your friend when something of such violence happens,” added Rios. “There’s no training that can prepare you for that.”
Rusuque Isaac is haunted by the sounds he heard around the time a 30 pound cinder block was dropped on Castillo’s head.
“I heard something go off and it hit the officer and he fell on his back,” testified Isaac.
Speaking through a translator, Isaac said he believes Robertson was the man who dropped the block on Castillo.
“Did it look like it was a person you knew,” asked the prosecutor.
“I thought it was Mike,” replied Isaac.
Isaac, who works as a mechanic near where Castillo was attacked told the jury what he saw afterwards.
“I was there watching and saw him give the officer a lot of punches. He kicked the officer like this. I was watching,” said Isaac.
Isaac also testified about Robertson’s frame of mind. He told the jury Robertson was angry that day because the water in his apartment had turned off.
The attack happened when Castillo pulled over Robertson for a routine traffic stop on April 23rd, 2010.
When officers pulled him over in the driveway of his grandmother’s house on 71st Street in Liberty City, he took off running. Castillo remained at the SUV, along with Robertson’s pregnant girlfriend and two young children. Police believe Robertson ran around the block, climbed a set of stairs to a landing about ten feet above where Castillo was standing and dropped the cinder block on him from above.
Robertson then jumped down from the landing and reportedly kicked Castillo in the head repeatedly, before he stole the officer’s Dodge Charger and ran over him twice.
“After one or two minutes went past the car went over the officer and it was running down 71st street,” said Isaac.
Ebony Williams, a mother of two who was on her way home when she stumbled on the scene, described for the jury the blood on the officer’s face and tire marks on his arm.
“When I realized it was an officer, I saw the tire marks on the arm and the blood on his face,” said Williams.
“Were you scared?” asked Prosecutor Gail Levine.
“Yes,” said Williams.
In her opening statement on Wednesday, Assistant State Attorney Rebecca Demeglio told the jury it was a miracle that Castillo was still alive. Later she showed jurors a piece of the cinder block from the crime scene that had been dropped on Castillo’s head.
Castillo, the first witness called to the stand, at one point opened his shirt to show the jury a scar from his surgery.
“I have a scar from my chest line down to my stomach,” Castillo told the panel.
Castillo, who injuries included ten broken ribs, broken bones in his arms and brain trauma told the jury he doesn’t remember the attack, just the aftermath.
“Waking up in a room, just people standing around,” Castillo told the jury. “Everything in my body was delayed. My vision. I was able to see but everything was delayed. I had vertigo. I leaned back and the room started spinning.”
Castillo, who has been with the Miami-Dade police for 18 years, is now assigned to the department’s homeland security bureau.
Prosecutors plan to introduce into evidence Robertson’s fingerprints and DNA which were found in Castillo’s car blocks away from where he was attacked. Robertson’s defense counters that his DNA and fingerprints were not found at the crime scene.
Defense attorney Charles White told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he was not sure if he would allow Robertson to testify and was not sure how many witnesses he would call.