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N.J. Officer Takes Stand At His Murder Trial

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Gripping testimony from the New Jersey police officer on trial for murder after a deadly road rage incident on Interstate 97 in Anne Arundel County.

Derek Valcourt has more on the what the officer says happened that night.

He told jurors the victim was the aggressor and says he shot him in order to protect himself and his wife and kids.

New Jersey police detective Joseph Walker emerged from the courthouse holding his wife's hand after he spent nearly two hours on the witness stand Friday morning recounting the night of June 8, 2013 when he shot and killed Joseph Harvey of Anne Arundel County.

Walker testified that when his minivan with his wife and kids inside cut-off Harvey's car, Harvey became enraged, driving alongside Walker's car and screaming "What's your [expletive] problem?" and then calling him a racial slur.

Walker says Harvey again called him a racial slur and said "I'll [expletive] kill you."

Walker told jurors that's when he flashed his badge. "I said, 'Police. Keep moving,'" Walker said in court.

But instead, he said Harvey eventually ran his car off the road near a highway on-ramp. Harvey and his passenger, friend Adam Pidel, got out of the vehicle and began walking toward the detective who yelled for them to "Go back. Just go back."

When that didn't happen, Walker shot Harvey once in the leg. He said Harvey kept approaching, so he fired two more shots that ultimately ended Harvey's life.

Walker's supporters say that amounts to self defense, but prosecutors argue Walker pulled the trigger three times out of anger and a bruised ego. The victim's friends agree.

"Just because you're police doesn't give you the right to pull a gun out and shoot somebody," said Jennie Jones, victim's friend.

Earlier this week, Detective Walker's wife took the stand, telling a similar story to the one told Friday by her husband. She said she too feared for her life that night.

Closing arguments in the case could come Tuesday.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Walker faces the possibility of life in prison.

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