MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Witnesses took the stand Thursday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Miami detective back in 2008.
Andrew Rolle, 27, is charged with murder and attempted murder for the shooting death of 30-year old Miami Detective James Walker.
Rolle was allegedly in North Miami Beach to shoot Ricardo Ajuste, a rival, in a gang grudge. He shot then ran to a car he thought was driven by his accomplice but ended up being Officer Walker’s car. When Rolle tried to get into the car, Walker pulled his gun. Rolle ended up shooting and killing him. He ran off but was arrested a week later.
Former crime scene technician Shenekee Slaughter took the stand as the first state witness on Wednesday. She testified briefly about lifting prints and collecting DNA swabs from the car door handles.
The second state witness, Priscilla Miller, took the stand. She is a former Crime Scene Investigator for City of Miami Police Department.
An inmate was set to testify against Rolle but it was delayed. Defense attorney’s said the state did not provide them with the benefits the inmate would receive in exchange for his testimony.
The state was asked to provide the information to the defense attorneys, if not the inmate would be unable to testify.
Officer Walker’s former partner, Officer James Fraser, sat in on the trial Wednesday. He had 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.”
Earlier on Wednesday, a crime scene investigator entered the slain officer’s Glock 9mm pistol into evidence. 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 a doctor who rushed him to medics at a nearby fire station.
Tuesday was the first day of the trial.
In the opening statements, prosecutor Abbe Rifkin said this was a case of complex gangland disputes and mistaken identity.
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.
Rolle faces a life sentence if convicted.
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