Florida Cop Guilty After Killing Stranded Motorist

Nouman Raja faces life in prison for 2015 shooting death of musician Corey Jones
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2019 11:35 AM CST
Florida Cop Convicted in 30-Year First
Nouman Raja sits during his trial in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday.   (Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post via AP, Pool)

The jury of six deliberated for roughly four hours over two days before returning the verdict Corey Jones' family had been hoping for. "The sweetest sound was the click of those handcuffs," a relative tells the AP of the moment Nouman Raja was taken away as the first Florida police officer convicted in an on-duty shooting in 30 years, per WPLG. The former Palm Beach Gardens police officer was found guilty of manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder in the 2015 shooting death of Jones, a black musician whose SUV containing a $10,000 drum set had broken down on a roadside. Raja showed no reaction despite a possible sentence of life in prison, per NBC News. Over an eight-day trial, prosecutors described how he'd arrived around 3am at the side of an Interstate 95 exit ramp in plainclothes and an unmarked van, never identifying himself as a cop.

Confronted, 31-year-old Jones drew a legally owned handgun he'd bought for protection in his job as a housing inspector, apparently thinking he was being robbed. Raja, 41, said James had pointed the gun at him, causing him to fire six shots. The safety was activated on Jones' gun when it was found 41 yards from his body, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel. While noting a bullet through his heart and lungs had ultimately killed the musician, a medical examiner said that a bullet in Jones' right arm had to have come as he was running away. Jones' father said he was "filled with joy" at the verdict, per the Sun Sentinel. "Regardless of how many bad cops there is, the truth will always prevail," he said. Fired less than a month after the shooting, Raja has been under house arrest since charges were laid in 2016. Sentencing is set for April 26. (More on the case here.)

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