MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Opening statements got underway Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Miami police officer.
Andrew Rolle, 27, is charged murder and attempted murder in the 2008 shooting death of 30-year old Miami Detective James Walker.
In her opening statement, prosecutor Abbe Rifkin said this was a case of complex gangland disputes and mistaken identity.
On January, 8th, 2008, Walker, who was off-duty, was sitting in his parked unmarked department vehicle in front of his wife’s home near Northeast 164th Street and 18th Avenue in North Miami Beach.
Rolle had gone to the area to shoot Ricardo Ajuste in a gang grudge. He shot and then ran to what he thought was a car driven by an accomplice.
Rolle had mistaken Walker’s car for that of his accomplice’s car because they were the identical make and model, according to investigators.
When Rolle tried to get in the car, Walker pulled his gun but Rolle got the drop on him.
“He was my life, he meant a whole lot to me and I feel very said because my world has been taken away from me,” said Katina Walker after the shooting.
Walker was only able to get off a single shot before Rolle fatally shot him, according to investigators.
“The defendant continued to fire as he ran around officer Walker’s vehicle,” said prosecutor Rifkin.
Rolle ran off but was apprehended in front of the Miami Police Department headquarters one week later.
The defense originally indicated they would argue self-defense. Attorney David Peckens said Rolle didn’t know Walker was a police officer because he was not in uniform and when he pulled his gun, Rolle fired to defend himself.
However under Florida law, it is difficult to prove a ‘stand your ground’ defense if the shooting occurs during the commission of a crime.
On Tuesday, the defense took a different course.
Peckens told the jury there was no physical evidence that linked Rolle to the murder, no DNA, no finger prints.
There is no physical evidence to show that Andrew Rolle was even there,” said Peckens.
He added that the witnesses against Rolle were of questionable character and could not be believed.
An investigator was one of the first witnesses to take the stand. He showed photos of bullet holes, shell casings, and the alleged murder weapon, an assault rifle.
Rolle faces a life sentence if convicted.
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