MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The former partner of an officer shot and killed back in 2008 sat in on the trial of the man accused of killing him.
The slain detective’s former partner, Ofc. James Fraser, watched in court Wednesday and has observed many of the proceedings over the years leading to the trial.
“I made a promise to him and his father the day of the funeral that I would be here as much as possible and I’m going to honor that,” Fraser said.
Fraser described Det. Walker as a selfless public servant and dear friend.
“He was a real go getter, he really cared about the community, and we cared about each other,” Fraser told CBS4’s Gary Nelson.
Video from the scene of Walker’s murder, six and a half years ago, shows Fraser looking on in tears. Fraser said he thinks of his friend and colleague often, and the trial underscores his sense of loss.
“It brings back memories but, as I’ve told myself and others, this is the beginning of the end,” the officer said. “We know that justice will prevail.”
Andrew Rolle, 27, is charged murder and attempted murder in the 2008 shooting death of 30-year old Miami Detective James Walker.
Earlier on Wednesday, a crime scene investigator entered the slain officer’s Glock 9mm pistol into evidence. Det. Walker’s pistol was in his hand, his foot on the break of his car, the engine running when his body was found. Police say he was able to squeeze off one round before being shot dead.
The jury was also shown the AK-47 assault rifle that was used to kill Walker. Rolle allegedly fired dozens of rounds, one hitting Walker in the head.
Earlier jurors heard from Wesner Senobe, who Rolle allegedly shot moments before shooting the officer. Police say Rolle shot Senobe and shot up his car, mistaking him for another street rival he intended to kill. Senobe testified he did not know Rolle and didn’t get a good look at him the night of the shooting. He was too busy running for his life
Senobe, bleeding profusely from the arm, was fortunate to encounter Dr. Frank Rodriguez who happened by. Rodriguez tended to Senobe and rushed him to medics at a nearby fire station.
The Good Samaritan, incidentally, is no longer in practice. He lost his license after being convicted of health care fraud.
Opening statements got underway Tuesday, June 25th.
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, shot and killed him.
“He was my life. He meant a whole lot to me and I feel very sad because my world has been taken away from me,” said Katina Walker after the shooting.
“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.
Defense took a different course on Tuesday.
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.