Ex-cop Nouman Raja guilty of manslaughter, attempted murder in roadside killing of Corey Jones

Former police officer Nouman Raja is guilty of armed manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder for shooting stranded motorist Corey Jones to death in a roadside encounter, a Palm Beach County jury decided Thursday.

The verdict was announced about 9:15 a.m. following nearly five hours of deliberations over two days. Raja will be sentenced April 26. He faces a minimum term of 25 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life.

Circuit Judge Joseph Marx immediately ordered Raja to placed in handcuffs and taken to the Palm Beach County Jail to await sentencing.

He is believed to be the first police officer convicted in an on-duty shooting in Florida in the last 30 years.

The eight-day trial focused on the tragic encounter, recorded on audio, at 3:15 a.m. Oct. 18, 2015, in a Palm Beach Gardens highway off-ramp.

Prosecutors argued that Raja, 41, needed to be held accountable for his reckless, aggressive actions that resulting in the killing of a 31-year-old beloved musician whose SUV broke down after a Saturday night gig with his band.

Jones’ father, Clinton Jones Sr., had an impassioned reaction after the verdict, talking to the media outside the courthouse. He said he was “filled with joy,” and that his emotions were “running pretty wild right now.” He said he wasn’t surprised that Raja — the first local cop in 25 years to stand trial for an on-duty fatal shooting — was guilty of killing his son.

“The truth will always prevail. Regardless of how many bad cops there is, the truth will always prevail,” Jones said. “And this is what happened today: It was the truth that convicted him. It was the truth that brought him to justice. It was the truth that sent him to jail. It was the truth — that gave us justice for Corey.”

After the verdict, a reporter asked Jones’ father what he would tell Raja if he could talk to him.

Jones Sr. replied, “I would say to him, ‘Why didn’t you let my son live? Why didn’t you let my son go on that morning when he told you that he was OK? That he was good? You had the opportunity to let him go but you decided to do something else, and you took his life. And because of that, you’re in the predicament that you’re in now.’”

Jones’ father also thanked the community for the outpouring of support over the past three years.

“I want to thank God for all of my friends and those that loved Corey. You stuck by us. You encouraged us and gave us a lot of love and support. I want to thank everyone who had any type of relationship with our son, Corey.”

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