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Judge denies motion in Nouman Raja case

Posted at 7:20 AM, Mar 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-16 17:45:28-04

A short motion hearing was held Friday morning in Palm Beach County court for the former Palm Beach Gardens police officer charged in a fatal 2015 shooting.

Nouman Raja is charged with manslaughter and attempted murder in the shooting death of local drummer Corey Jones. It happened at the PGA Boulevard exit off Interstate 95 in October 2015.

At Friday’s hearing, the defense team for Raja asked the judge for more specific details regarding the charges against Raja.

The defense claims they’ve interviewed several witnesses, including experts and other law enforcement, who can’t say what fatal shot, out of six, killed Jones. The defense argues that lack of information is hindering them when it comes to forming a defense.

The state claims the defense is trying to learn their trial strategy, and that they've already shared extensive evidence with the defense. State prosecutors added that they themselves do not know which shot killed Jones, but that does not hinder anything. 

The judge agreed with state prosecutors and denied the motion. But defense attorney Richard Lubin told reporters afterward, "The state announced today that they don’t know, so in a lot of ways we obtained the information we wanted."

Corey's father, Clinton Jones Sr., spoke outside the hearing Friday, saying, "Basically what the family want is justice for our son Corey and that’s what we are looking forward to. Not going to stop until we get justice for him."

Raja did not attend Friday's hearing.

Just this week, state prosecutors released new video that shows Raja telling investigators his version of events, after he shot and killed Jones.

Investigators say Jones' car broke down on the PGA Boulevard off ramp. Raja was driving an unmarked vehicle in plain clothes and approached Jones while he was stranded. In the video, Raja told investigators that Jones confronted him, so he shot him multiple times.

But during the course of the investigation, investigators learned Jones' body was found a significant distance away from Jones' gun, which he had obtained only days prior to the shooting.

Investigators also said Raja lied during his interviews. State prosecutors say Raja was criminally negligent from the initial approach of Jones, through the shooting. 

Raja's attorneys refute that, saying "after over two years of investigation, the state has no evidence as to where Corey Jones was when he was shot, what position Corey Jones was in when he was shot, what Corey Jones was doing when he was shot, which of the six shots fired struck Corey Jones, which of the six shots caused his death, and which of the six shots caused the injuries to Corey Jones' arms."

In January, Raja's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges under the "Stand Your Ground" law. That hearing will be held March 28. 

A trial is scheduled for July.