A former South Florida police officer Nouman Raja who killed a stranded Black motorist in 2015 was convicted Thursday of manslaughter and attempted murder in the fatal shooting, NBC News reports.
The 41-year-old disgraced cop now faces life in prison for killing 31-year-old Corey Jones, a musician, who was stranded on the side of an Interstate 95 exit ramp after his SUV had broken down.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Chris Karpinski informed jurors that evidence relating to Raja‘s story about killing the stranded Black motorist did not match up with the officer’s original interview after the shooting.
Karpinski said that there were massive discrepancies in the initial statements made by Raja than that which was recently found on an audio recording five days after the 2015 shooting.
The four-man, two-woman jury returned with a verdict after about four hours of manslaughter with a firearm and attempted first-degree murder, according to The Associated Press.
Jones’ family members filled the courtroom. According to the AP, one of Jones’ family members said “the sweetest sound was the click of those handcuffs” on Raja after the conviction was rendered.
Attorneys for the Jones family released a statement after the verdict which said:
“What can happen when prosecutors have the dedication to charge an on-duty law enforcement officer in the murder of an innocent black man, and what can happen when a thoughtful judge rejects a shameless ploy to use Florida’s questionable Stand Your Ground law as a shield against wrongdoing.”
“This verdict is a vindication of the good man that was Corey Jones, and an utter repudiation of a criminal who tried to hide behind a badge,” the statement said. “Though the Jones family will miss Corey for the rest of their lives, they can finally start to heal knowing that justice has finally been served.”