WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The fourth day of testimony in the manslaughter trial of a former South Florida police officer charged in the killing of a stranded black motorist continued Friday with jurors listening to testimony from expert witnesses for the state.
Nouman Raja is on trial for fatally shooting Corey Jones, who was stranded on the side of an Interstate 95 exit ramp after his SUV had broken down, in October 2015.
Attorneys for the former Palm Beach Gardens police officer claim he shot Jones in self-defense, but prosecutors argue the 31-year-old drummer in a local band mistook the plain-clothed Raja, 41, for a robber, causing him to pull his gun.
Jones had a license to carry a concealed weapon.
Omar Felix, a senior forensic scientist with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, was the first to testify Friday. The firearms specialist was called by the state to explain how forensic evidence from the crime scene doesn't match Raja's account of events.
Raja claimed he could see what looked like a specific brand of laser scope, called a LaserMax, that Jones pointed at him.
There was no laser on Jones' gun, but it was silver, so crime scene investigators conducted a light reflectivity test to see if they could simulate a reflection that looked like a LaserMax.
Jurors got to see a video of that test and heard from one of the investigators who performed it.
"We were eventually able to get it to reflect the red light from the traffic signal," crime scene investigator Keith Thomas testified.
"And as you previously testified, did this look like a LaserMax laser to you at all?" prosecutor Brian Fernandes asked.
"It did not look like any type of laser to me at all," Thomas answered.
The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department fired Raja shortly after the shooting. He has been on house arrest since he was charged in June 2016.
Prosecutors are expected to rest their case Monday. The trial is expected to conclude by the end of next week.