ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A jury sides with a New Jersey police detective who claims he shot and killed a road-raging Anne Arundel County man in self-defense.
Derek Valcourt has more on the verdict and reaction to it.
Prosecutors said his actions amounted to first-degree murder, but a jury didn’t buy it, and found nothing criminal in Walker’s actions when he pulled out his gun and opened fire.
The jury ruled Detective Joseph Walker was acting in self-defense to protect his wife and kids when he shot and killed a road-raging Joseph Harvey along an Anne Arundel County roadside in June 2013.
Walker declined to speak to reporters after the verdict and let his attorney do the talking.
“The prosecution’s theory of the case–that this was an act of murder, that this was motivated by aggression and anger–was simply wrong,” said defense attorney Charles Curlette.
Prosecutors say Walker was just as guilty in the road rage incident that started when he mistakenly cut off Harvey’s car. Harvey screamed racial slurs and threats, which prosecutors say bruised the detective’s ego and led him to murder Harvey out of anger.
“Mr. Harvey was shot not once, not twice, but three times. And witnesses said that he stopped and put his hands up before he was shot two more times,” said Anne Colt-Leitess, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney.
But the defense convinced jurors that it was Harvey who was the road rage aggressor, and the verdict now allows Walker to move on with his life.
“He’s feeling vindicated because he knows in his core he did nothing wrong. Does he have sorrow that a life was lost? Absolutely,” said John Mennella, detective’s friend.
Walker’s supporters expect he will eventually be reinstated to his position as a police detective with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey.
The family of the victim, Joseph Harvey, could not be reached for reaction to the verdict.
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