A Palm Beach County jury has convicted former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Norman Raja, as charged, of armed manslaughter and first degree attempted murder in the October 2015 shooting death of 31-year-old stranded motorist Corey Jones.
Raja was taken into custody right away. He faces up to life in prison and a minimum of 25 years. Sentencing is April 26.
Jones’ family formed a prayer circle outside the courtroom.
His brother C.J., his grandfather, Bishop Sylvester Banks and other family members thanked God for the verdict, prayed for Nouman Raja and his family and thanked prosecutors. “We got the victory. Praise God!” Banks said.
State Attorney David Aronberg thanked community and business leaders for their trust in his office over the 3½ years since Jones was killed.
“This is a bittersweet day because nothing can bring Corey Jones back,” Aronberg said. “Hopefully this verdict will show there’s equal justice in Palm Beach County.”
Aronberg also called Raja an “aberration” and said, “The noble profession of law enforcement should not be tarnished by any one individual.”
Outside the courthouse, Corey Jones’ father said his family is “happy and sad at the same time.”“I just thank God that the truth caught up with him,” Clinton Jones Sr. said. “It was a long process, but we endured and today we have justice.”
Raja had been on house arrest and $250,000 bond since his June 2016 arrest.
Raja, 41, told investigators he shot Jones in self-defense after Jones pointed a gun at him.
But prosecutors say discrepancies in Raja’s videotaped statement, along with an audio recording of the confrontation from Jones’ roadside assistance call, proved Raja was lying.
here is the Corey Jones shooting scene, FBI animation, phone calls
The questions remain is DID Cory pull the firearm out and WHY? Raja’s entire case seemed to hang on the audio tape that the JURY decided was good enough to convict Raja of a felony of attempted 1st degree murder. Raja’s plea of the Florida “stand your ground” policy was refused by the judge in the hearing.
The Oct. 18, 2015 “walk-through” video holds what prosecutors have characterized as inexplicable, inexcusable lies that show that Raja is guilty of attempted murder and manslaughter by culpable negligence for his on-duty shooting of Jones, 31. But on Monday, Raja’s defense attorneys were the ones who played the video in a crowded courtroom for Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer.
Recent changes in legal rules surrounding “Stand Your Ground” hearings in Florida means that prosecutors will have to convince Feuer that Raja did not act in self-defense in order for his case to survive. Still, Raja’s defense team on the first day of the hearing appeared to spend most of their time not by introducing a self-defense scenario, but by combating inconsistencies in Raja’s story.
Experts, Michael Knox and Michael La Forte, all said on Monday that police officers can, and often do, make mistakes when recalling the events before, during and after an on-duty killing, and it doesn’t mean that their actions are unjustified.
14 Hours ago Raja’s Wife posted this on his instagram: