A Palm Beach County judge has ruled the former Palm Beach Gardens Police officer was not acting under the "stand your ground" defense his fatal 2015 shooting of a stranded driver.
Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer decided Nouman Raja will have to face trial and cannot have charges against him dismissed for the death of Corey Jones, calling the shooting unreasonable and unjustified.
Raja is charged with manslaughter and attempted murder for shooting and killing Jones in Oct. 2015 on the Palm Beach Gardens Blvd exit ramp of Interstate 95 when Jones's car broke down.
"Of course, we disagree with the ruling and the basis of which she ruled," said Richard Lubin, Raja's attorney, Friday afternoon. "We will be taking an immediate appeal."
Raja’s attorneys argued in a two-day hearing last month that the shooting was justified. “He was in fear of imminent death or great bodily harm,” attorney Scott Richardson said during the hearing.
In her 27-page ruling, Schosberg Feuer said Raja’s statements to investigators after the shooting were “unreliable and not credible.”
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office says Raja approached Jones’s vehicle in an unmarked van, dressed in plainclothes and never identified himself as an officer.
“The physical evidence indicates that Jones moved away from [Raja], around and behind his car, before [Raja] fired the shots,” Schosberg Feuer wrote.
Jones tried running away from Raja when he was shot, according to the ruling.
“There is nothing inherently suspicious about a motorist broken down on the side of the road,” said Schosberg Feuer.
"These are the first steps in achieving justice," said Anquan Boldin, Jones' cousin and former NFL player.
Schosberg Feuer said that while she does believe “stand your ground” applies to law enforcement based off of previous court cases, she does not believe it applies to Raja in this case. Raja is still allowed to arguing he shot Jones in self-defense during the trial.
Raja's trial is scheduled to being on July 16.