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Defense calls first witness in Raja trial

Posted at 10:38 AM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 10:14:18-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.-- Nouman Raja's attorneys called their first witness to the stand Monday.

He is a police psychologist from out of town who could only appear today and was called before the state finished calling all of its witnesses.

Raja’s lawyers called the psychologist to testify about the memory impairment or perception distortion an officer can face in a situation of high arousal and deadly force.

Prosecutors made it a point to confirm the expert witness has never evaluated Raja and cannot offer an opinion about whether he experienced any of the perception distortion or memory impairment phenomena that he testified about.

Raja is the former Palm Geach Gardens police officer being tried on charges of manslaughter and first-degree attempted murder in the shooting of Corey Jones.

RELATED: Follow Michele Quesada's live tweets from the courtroom

Monday morning prosecutors called a gun examiner from the FBI to talk about how he tested Raja's gun.

“In this analysis, they wanted me to look at this pistol and evaluate where would these cartridge cases land in relationship the firearm,” said Erich Smith, FBI forensic firearms examiner.

Smith told prosecutors that each time the gun was fired, the cartridge cases would land behind the shooter and to the left, and the distance could vary.

“And your confidence level was 99.73 percent?” asked prosecutor Brian Fernandes? Smith confirmed he was 99.7 percent confident.

Prosecutor showed a quick video clip in slow motion of how the cartridge pops out of the gun. It appears the demonstration and testimony were given to prove a point to jurors that they can get a general idea of where the shooter would be, but it is not in any way exact.

“Is it fair to say that the trajectory alone cannot tell you where the shooter was positioned?” asked Fernandes. “It cannot,” said Smith.

On day one of opening statements, the defense team presented jurors with graphics of how the scene was positioned.

The witness said, based on the way the gun shoots, cartridge casings on the scene would be found behind where the shooter was standing barring any other variables.