Trial begins for man in 2008 killing of Miami cop

Accused Miami cop killer Andrew Rolle in court Friday, with lawyer David Peckins, as his trial for murder begins.
Accused Miami cop killer Andrew Rolle in court Friday, with lawyer David Peckins, as his trial for murder begins. Miami Herald

After using an assault rifle to shoot up a supposed rival on a North Miami Beach street, Andrew “Birdman” Rolle mistook a white Ford Taurus for his getaway ride, a prosecutor told jurors Friday.

Inside the Taurus was Miami detective James Walker, off-duty and wielding his service revolver after hearing the flurry of gunfire. Walker squeezed off one shot before Rolle fired his AK47 into the Taurus.

“Killing him almost instantly and nearly breaking every bone in his face,” prosecutor Abbe Rifkin told jurors on the first day of Rolle’s trial for murder.

She added: “It doesn’t matter if he knew Detective Walker was a police officer or not. He had the intent to kill him.”

Rolle, 28, faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder for the January 2008 slaying.

His defense attorney, David Peckins, insisted that the case was built only on the word of unreliable witnesses.

“You will not hear any forensic evidence tying Andrew Rolle to the crime, or even that he was there,” Peckins said during opening statements.

Friday marked the start of Rolle’s second trial for slaying of Walker, a domestic-crimes detective who had been visiting his estranged wife that night.

In June, the judge declared a mistrial after a dispute erupted between lawyers over whether prosecutors properly turned over to the defense a transcript of testimony from a key witness.

Apart from the murder case, Rolle will remain in prison for the majority of his life. During the past year, he was convicted at trial in two separate robbery cases, for which he is serving a total of 50 years prison.

In the Walker slaying case, according to prosecutors, Rolle had been looking to kill a rival who had stolen a pistol from him.

That night, a gang associate driving a white Ford Taurus dropped Rolle off in an alley in North Miami Beach, and Rolle ran over and sprayed bullets in the block where he believed his target was.

Rolle returned to the alley and, spying a white Ford Taurus, tried to get into the car, according to the state.

But the nearly identical car actually belonged to Walker, who rolled down the window and pointed his service pistol at Rolle. The defendant later told a friend that he “intentionally opened fire” on Walker until “the magazine was empty.”

“In this case, the intersection of lives was deadly,” prosecutor Rifkin said.