Witnesses take stand in DeAndre Charles hearing

Families on both sides attend hearing in death of rabbi


MIAMI – A teenager accused of killing a rabbi in Northeast Miami-Dade faced a judge Wednesday, and both his family members and those of the victim were in court.

A witness who heard the gunshot and Rabbi Joseph Raksin scream for help in August 2014 was the first person to rush over to help. He said the rabbi told him that he was shot by two black males.

Another resident in the area came up with a sketch of a suspect on his own and hand-delivered it to a detective. The man claimed to have seen DeAndre Charles, 15, and another person running away from the crime scene.

Parts of a .40-caliber handgun and unfired bullets were found at the shooting scene. DNA on the magazine extension came back with a high probability match for DeAndre.

A cellphone tied to the defendant pinged on a tower closest to the crime scene around the time of the shooting.

"I had my phone that day. He didn't have my phone. I had my phone that day," DeAndre's mother Blair Charles, testified.

"So were you in the area of the shooting of the rabbi that day?" the prosecutor asked.

"No," Charles said.

Police also found surveillance video from the nearby Sabal Palm Elementary School that shows a dark-colored SUV right before the time of the shooting.

That same morning in the neighborhood, an elderly woman saw three black males commit a home burglary but never called police. She later told officers that they also used a black SUV.

A confidential informant came forward days later to give three names responsible for the shooting death and told police to look for a black Cadillac Escalade.

Police found the vehicle, which DeAndre was a passenger in, and all three people were questioned.

The confidential informant, Annex Jean, has since been shot and killed. Jean's murder is an ongoing investigation.

The hearing is expected to reconvene Thursday morning, when defense attorney Adam Goodman is expected to call one more witness.

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