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Former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld On Trial For Antwon Rose Shooting: Live Updates

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TUESDAY'S TESTIMONY (Tuesday, March 19 at 6 p.m.)

The trial wrapped up on Day 1 just before 6 p.m. Tuesday. The first eyewitness took the stand and testified that Michael Rosfeld shot automatically when the two suspects ran from the car after being pulled over by police.

Next-door-neighbor Debra Jones said the shooting unfolded in front of her and that after stopping the car, Rosfeld shot without cause when the two boys ran.

"Automatically," she said. "Three shots. Boom, boom, boom."

KDKA's Ralph Iannotti Reports:


Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Dan Fitzsimmons asked, "Did you see anything in their hands?"

Jones replied, "No, no, I did not."

Jones said she went to talk with neighbors but returned to see Rose face-down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him.

Later, Jones said she saw Rosefeld huddled with other officers. She said he was very upset and crying.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan Reports:


Jones said the two men ran from the car immediately, but defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said she initially told police the two seemed to motion with their hands.

Thomassey also questioned whether Jones had been drinking that day, noting that the police said she appeared intoxicated.

Jones said she drank after the incident.

Last to testify was the woman who took the video of the incident, Lashaun Livingston. She took the video from her balcony from 180 feet away.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan Reports:


She said she heard Rosfeld yell in an angry tone that frightened her but she couldn't hear exactly what he was saying.

B-PEP ISSUES STATEMENT ON CROWD SIZE (Tuesday, March 19 at 3 p.m.)

Tim Stevens, the CEO of B-PEP, says the courts should have anticipated the large crowd size and interest in the trial.

Stevens wrote a letter addressed to President Judge Kim Clark and Allegheny County DA Stephan Zappala complaining about the problem, saying many had waited in line for more than an hour, only to find out there was no room in the main courtroom.

ROSE FAMILY RELEASES STATEMENT (Tuesday, March 19 at 1:40 p.m.)

The family of Antwon Rose has released this statement through their attorney Fred G. Rabner:

"June 19th is a day the family of Antwon Rose II will sadly never forget -- the day a hair-triggered, overly aggressive, Officer Rosfeld, gunned their Antwon down in the back as he posed no risk whatsoever to the continuously firing Rosfeld. Within an instant, their son, brother, grandson and friend - their brightest light, Antwon - was extinguished.

"Today, Antwon's family is here seeking the justice they so deserve and to assure that the light of Antwon's memory shines forever.

"They are praying that equity and fairness will prevail in form of a conviction of the man who shot an unarmed Antwon in the back killing him. They are praying for strength and perseverance for the zealous District Attorneys who are battling to convict Rosfeld; they are praying for determination and wisdom for Judge Bicket, who will be minding the scales of Justice, assuring that this important Trial is decided on its merits, and that any and all prejudice is left outside the courthouse doors; and most of all, they are praying for the courage of the Jurors - that they be pure of heart and clear of mind in listening to and watching the undeniable objective evidence of Rosfeld's criminality in reaching their guilty verdict.

"Antwon Rose II's family and friends are braced for a Trial centered around their most painful loss, the one caused when Michael Rosfeld's service weapon left an irreparable hole in their collective souls. To them and the many watching this unfold, locally and all over the Country, a conviction of Rosfeld, would be a momentous first step towards restoring justice and give this hurting family some semblance of peace.

"The family members and supporters of Antwon Rose II know the pain of their own loss, but also have the the wisdom to understand that this battle is beyond their personal circumstance and truly about eradicating Police Brutality in American culture. They know this Trial has far reaching implications and it's integrity is relied upon by the families of the thousands upon thousands harmed or killed before Antwon was taken from them."

FIRST WITNESS ON STAND (Tuesday, March 19 at 11:25 a.m.)

The first witness to take the stand is a deputy medical examiner from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office. He was called to explain where the bullets his Rose. There were audible gasps and some in the courtroom cried as the prosecution showed graphic pictures of Rose's gunshot wounds to the face, back and arm.


TRIAL MOVING AHEAD (Tuesday, March 19 at 10:22 a.m.)

Rosfeld's attorney told the court the shooting happened right outside of a senior living facility. He said Rose and the other young man he was with "could have gone into there and taken someone hostage" and "turned it into a SWAT situation." He said Rosfeld was just "protecting the community."


OPENING STATEMENTS CONCLUDE (Tuesday, March 19 at 10:22 a.m.)

Opening statements ended at 10:22 a.m. They lasted for about 45 minutes before the lawyers wrapped up to move on to testimony.

During their turn in front of the court, the defense said police officers like Rosfeld keep the public safe. Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said Rosfeld didn't wake up that morning wanting to kill anyone. Instead, he left his wife and went off to work.

Rosfeld's defense attorney also called the place [Braddock] where the drive-by shooting happened prior to Rose's death a "valley full of crime." And said, "This is the type of place Rosfeld has to patrol all the time."

The prosecutor's opening statement centered around this statement: "Just remember all that really matters is what Michael Rosefeld knew when he pulled the trigger," alluding to the fact he didn't know any specifics about the weapons in the car, what really happened in the drive-by and he didn't really know who the men were inside the car.

"What was on the line for Michael Rosfeld when he pulled the trigger?" the prosecutor asked.

People were visibly upset and sighing in the courtroom after prosecutor Dan Fitzsimmons gave his opening statement. They didn't think he had enough passion.

The defense told the court, "They can't find an expert to say what he did was wrong - because he's not." While the prosecution emphasized that Rose was running from the scene when he was shot and died within minutes.

The first witness then took the stand. A deputy medical examiner from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office explained where the bullets hit Rose.

OPENING STATEMENTS (Tuesday, March 19 at 9:20 a.m.)

Michael Rosfeld, Antwon Rose (Photos: Allegheny County Jail/STK, Embrace Life/Facebook)

The trial of ex-officer Rosfeld is now underway. Opening statements began just after 9 a.m.

HEAVY SECURITY (Tuesday, March 19 at 9 a.m.)

Since early Tuesday morning, there's been a large police presence around the Allegheny County Courthouse. Police officers have been seen in patrol cars, on foot and on bikes.

City officials also brought in salt trucks to block traffic in the perimeter around the courthouse.

Police want to make sure no protests take place, like what the area saw several times last summer.

Rose's mother has called for no protests during the trial.


(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Rose's family, including his mother Michelle Kenney. arrives at the Allegheny County Courthouse ahead of opening statements.

WATCH: Family's Arrival --

Prosecutor Dan Fitzsimmons and defense attorney Patrick Thomassey entered the building shortly before 8 a.m.

SHOW OF SUPPORT (Tuesday, March 19 at 8 a.m.)

Members of the Pittsburgh Chapter of Bend the Arc, a Jewish organization, placed handmade purple roses on trees along the sidewalks of the Allegheny County Courthouse. They were one of the many organizations showing support for Antwon Rose's family.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Scott Danka)
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

TRIAL SET TO BEGIN (Tuesday, March 19 at 7 a.m.)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) - A white Pennsylvania police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager last year is headed to trial in a case that could put him behind bars for life.

Lawyers for 30-year-old former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld are expected to argue that the June shooting of Antwon Rose II was justified.

The trial starts this morning and is expected to last about a week.

Rosfeld is charged with criminal homicide for shooting 17-year-old Rose in the face, elbow and back.

The jury, picked in Dauphin County last week, will hear opening statements this morning.


The fact that Rosfeld shot Rose is not in dispute; a jury must decide if it was justified. Trial lawyer Bill Difenderfer says the prosecution can make a very strong case on the basis of video alone. Cell phone video shows Rosfeld shooting Rose three times in the back.

"You're going to have jurors just with common sense going, you know, why did you have to -- you don't see any weapons, you didn't see anything. The kid was running away. You weren't in any danger, officer. You know what I mean?" Difenderfer said.

Authorities have said Rose had an empty ammunition clip in his pants when he was killed but not a weapon.

Police say Rosfeld made conflicting statements, including that he saw something in Rose's hand that Rosfeld thought was a gun.

Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey will argue that although Rose did not have a gun on him when he was shot, Rosfeld had reason to believe he was armed and dangerous. The defense will be hammering video taken moments before the fatal traffic stop of a drive-by shooting in which Rose was a passenger. Rose did not do the shooting, but Thomassey will argue he was a willing participant in an attempted murder.

"That's a specific intent to kill," Difenderfer said, "so if Mr. Thomassey can show that, it's compelling, very compelling."

Monday, Judge Alexander Bicket indicated he will allow all evidence related to the drive-by shooting but not evidence five hours before when Thomassey maintains that Rose was involved in an armed robbery.

The judge says he'll decide later under which statutes he will instruct the jury. Thomassey wants to restrict their consideration to first-degree murder, which would require pre-meditation, though it's more likely the jury will decide on third-degree charges, which would mean the officer acted with recklessness and malice.

The jury is being sequestered in a downtown hotel. Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and the judge has told them they'll be working long days for a week or more.

(TM and © Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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