By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge today issued a guilty verdict in the non-jury trial of a man accused in the shooting death of an off-duty Philadelphia police officer in August 2012.
Judge Jeffrey Minehart found Rafael Jones (right photo below) guilty in the attempted robbery and subsequent murder of Moses Walker Jr., shortly after the police officer completed his overnight shift in the 22nd police district in North Philadelphia and was walking to public transportation.
Walker was approached by two men and shot twice.
There were surveillance video and phone records that put Jones in the area during the crime, and co-defendant Chancier McFarland, who cooperated with prosecutors, testified during Jones’ trial, and is now serving 20-40 years in prison for his part in the crime.
The judge also heard from another friend of Jones who said that Jones admitted to him that he had killed Walker but also threatened to kill him if he squealed.
Jones says he and his crime partner did not know at the time that Walker was a cop — they thought he was a Temple student and probably an easy mark. But Walker was shot and killed when he started running and apparently reaching for his gun.
The defense attorney challenged the credibility of both witnesses, suggesting particularly that McFarland, the co-defendant, had a reason to lie and pin the murder on Jones.
Jones now faces an automatic life sentence. Walker’s mother, who was in court for today’s court proceeding, said afterward that she is satisfied with the verdict.