Trial nears for ex-cop accused of killing stranded motorist
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (CBS12 News) —
A former Palm Beach Gardens police officer accused of shooting and killing a local church drummer as he waited for a tow truck along I-95 is expected in court Friday.
Attorneys from both sides are expected to argue several motions ahead of the high profile trial that’s now just weeks away.
According to court records, some of those motions focus on whether or not certain testimony and evidence should be admitted at Nouman Raja’s trial.
Raja is charged with manslaughter with a firearm and attempted first-degree murder for the death of 31-year-old Corey Jones.
Prosecutors say Jones was on his way home from a show he played with his band when his car broke down near the I-95 southbound exit ramp at PGA Boulevard.
Investigators say he was waiting on the side of the highway for a tow truck to arrive when Raja pulled over in an unmarked police van.
Raja was not dressed in his Palm Beach Gardens Police uniform and never identified himself as an officer.
They say a short time later, Raja shot and killed Jones, claiming self defense.
Last year, a judge rejected Raja’s stand-your-ground claim.
Court records show that at Friday’s hearing the defense is also expected to push for a new list of expectations when it comes to Raja’s house arrest conditions.
Another motion includes a request for Raja to buy new clothes for the trial.
The motion states prosecutors are opposed to it.
At a hearing in January, the Judge made sure both sides understood the magnitude of the case and set ground rules for the trial.
The judge stated the courtroom will hold a capacity of 177 people. Each side will have equal representation of family, friends and the community.
The judge also said he will watch what people wear in the courtroom, such as uniformed officers and T-shirts with slogans, to avoid any influence on the jury.
Friday’s heading will begin at 1:30 PM at the Palm Beach County Courthouse.
The trial is set to begin February 22 and could last several weeks.