Miami courts

Jurors deliberate in case of man accused of attacking Miami-Dade detective

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Jurors began deliberating Thursday the fate of Michael Robertson, the Miami man prosecutors say smashed a concrete block on the head of a Miami-Dade police detective, kicked him, stole his car and then “ran him over like a piece of garbage.”

That means Friday could be the last day in the trial of Robertson, 36, who is accused of attempted murder in the April 2010 attack on Detective Carlos Castillo, 40.

The longtime officer survived, but suffered brain damage, broken ribs and other internal injuries in the attack in a Little Haiti-area alleyway.

Castillo, a member of Miami-Dade’s Robbery Intervention Detail Unit, had pulled over Robertson after noticing the tag askew on the man’s Chevrolet Suburban. After giving the officer a fake name, Robertson ran away, leaving behind his two children and pregnant girlfriend.

Castillo did not chase, instead radioing fellow officers.

During her closing argument Thursday, prosecutor Gail Levine told jurors that Robertson ran up the stairs of his apartment building, then hurled the block 11 feet from the second-story roof.

Then Robertson ran down, dragged Castillo’s bruised body, kicked him, and stole the detective’s unmarked Dodge Charger. In a frantic attempt to turn off the lights and sirens, Robertson tore off the visor, then wiped down the car to try to hide fingerprints, she said.

But Robertson’s fingerprint was found on the inside of the driver’s side interior door handle, Levine said.

“What the heck is his fingerprint doing in that car if he didn’t smash that officer, punch and kick him, and run over him in the street?” Levine said.

Robertson’s DNA was also found on the torn-off visor in the Charger, which was discovered abandoned nearby, she said.

Several eye witnesses also placed Robertson, who lived in the building, at the scene.

Thursday was the eighth day of the trial. On Wednesday, Robertson took the stand, saying he ran away because he was scared of corrupt cops, but insisted he never returned to attack Castillo.

Robertson claimed the DNA and the fingerprints were planted by the cops using “forensic sorcery.”

Defense attorney Charles White spent a considerable part of his closing argument bashing one eyewitness, a now-jailed man who knew Robertson and said he saw him hurl the cinderblock from the roof.

White suggested to jurors that cops somehow planted the DNA and fingerprint, although he did not explain how they could have done that.

He alluded to a detective taking Robertson’s fingerprints, using some sort of laptop machine, shortly after the man was taken into custody.

“The question is not whether the fingerprint belongs to Michael Robertson,” White said. “The question is whether or not the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he put that fingerprint in the police car.”

His suggestion drew an angry rebuke from Levine, saying no technology existed to transfer a fingerprint from a laptop to the inside of a door handle.

“He might as well have told you Martians are coming,” Levine said incredulously.

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