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Key Witness Takes Stand On Day 2 Of Holt Trial, Offers Testimony On Letters Holt Wrote From Jail

GREENSBURG (KDKA) -- The second day in the trial of a man charged in the fatal shooting of a New Kensington police officer is underway in Westmoreland County.

Today, jurors hearing the trial of 31-year-old Rahmael Holt continued listening to testimony and saw evidence photos.

Rahmael Sal Holt walk
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Holt is accused of shooting and killing Officer Brian Shaw in November of 2017. Investigators say Holt was running away from a traffic stop at the time.

This morning, the jury saw a photo of the vehicle allegedly involved in the traffic stop. Prosecutors say the brownish-gold Jeep Cherokee was driven that night by Tavon Harper, a key witness in the trial. Holt was allegedly in the passenger seat.

Harper took the stand just before lunchtime.

Harper testified that Holt wrote him letters from jail. At least one of the letters asks Harper to change his testimony, Harper told the court.

The letter reads in part: "...this is how we going do this like you said i'll take your drugs i'm cool with that but you gotta contact my lawyer this that i wasn't with you that you dropped me off on victoria and catalpic before all this happen you then pick some dude you don't really know up that when all the [expletive] accured."

"Tell him only reason you lied on me is because i left some drugs in your car and at your house that you didn't know was in there."

"Those letters cut both ways ... you can read in the letter him saying he doesn't want to go down for something he didn't do," Holt's attorney, Tim Dawson, said.

The jury also heard from Harper's ex-wife, Morgan Harvin, who admitted she lied to police at first.

WATCH: KDKA's Meghan Schiller reports live from Westmoreland County on the trial.

She testified that Harper asked Holt to jump out Jeep Cherokee because he was on parole and couldn't be found with an armed man who didn't have a license to carry.

She said Harper told her to lie to police and say she was driving the Jeep and picked up a man she didn't know. She said when she learned an officer died that night, she told police the truth, that Harper was driving Holt in the moments before the shooting.

The jury also looked at a map of New Kensington.

The map has black, yellow and white circles drawn on it to show distances from the crime scene to where investigators found a dropped cell phone and the Jeep.

Additional witnesses were also expected to take the stand for the prosecution. Dawson said he planned cross examination of them.

Video shown in court on Monday shows Officer Shaw chasing a man across the screen from left to right. As he closes a gap, there is a flash indicating the moment the officer was shot.

The judge also removed one of the jurors on Monday afternoon. Juror No. 11 was dismissed for failing to follow instructions. An alternate juror took his place.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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