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Andrew Coffee IV found not guilty of murder, attempted murder in Indian River County SWAT raid

Alteria Woods, 21, died during exchange of gunfire
Andrew Coffee IV, Nov. 15 in courtroom for trial
Posted at 2:28 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 17:26:33-05

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — An Indian River County man on trial in connection with a deadly 2017 SWAT raid in Gifford was found not guilty of five of the six charges Friday.

Andrew Coffee IV was charged with second-degree murder of his 21-year-old girlfriend and three counts of attempted murder of law enforcement after the raid led to an exchange of gunfire.

He was also acquitted of shooting or throwing a deadly missile.

Alteria Woods, killed during Indian River County Sheriff's Office raid in March 2017
Alteria Woods was killed during a raid by the Indian River County Sheriff's Office in March 2017.

The sheriff's office claimed Coffee IV fired shots first at deputies during an early-morning search warrant for narcotics at his Gifford home four years ago.

According to an arrest affidavit, SWAT team members returned fire into the bedroom. However, Coffee IV claimed deputies fired first.

Fearing for his life, Coffee IV told investigators that he fired two or three rounds. The sheriff's office maintained it announced its presence.

Coffee IV told investigators that he didn't know it was deputies because they did not announce who they were.

His girlfriend, Alteria Woods, who was also at the home, was shot 10 times and died during the gunfire.

A grand jury previously exonerated the officer and deputies who fired their weapons during the incident.

However, a jury on Friday found Coffee IV guilty of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon.

His attorney Julia Graves said her client can face up to 30 years in prison. They plan to ask for time served and appeal that guilty verdict.

"We were ecstatically happy with the first verdicts of the five counts of not guilty on the most serious charges that could cause him to spend the rest of his life in prison, so he was happy about that. We were happy about that," Graves said. "We knew there was going to be an issue by the possession of the firearm by a convicted felon because that's why we stipulated that he was in possession and stipulated he was a convicted felon, but we were hoping for the duress and necessity and self-defense on that."