After nearly four hours of deliberations, jurors in the case of accused Miami cop killer Andrew Rolle appeared deadlocked Tuesday night.
The 12-person jury sent out an unsigned note that read “We Are 6-6” before a Miami-Dade judge sent them home for the night. The jurors will resume deliberating Wednesday morning.
Rolle, 28, is charged with first-degree murder and faces life in prison if convicted of the slaying of Miami Detective James Walker.
If the jurors cannot reach a unanimous verdict, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez could declare a mistrial — the second in Rolle’s murder case.
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Tuesday’s deadlocked jury was a surprise twist in the week-long trial for Rolle, who is accused of murdering the soft-spoken, off-duty domestic crimes detective on a chilly night in North Miami Beach in January 2008.
During trial, prosecutors laid out a complicated chain of events that started when a rival stole a “crappy” Tech-9 pistol “that didn’t work” from Rolle.
To exact revenge, Rolle planned to use an assault rifle to kill the gun thief. That night, a pal of Rolle’s, driving a white Ford Taurus, dropped him off in a North Miami Beach alleyway. Rolle then emerged onto the street and unleashed a volley of bullets at the man he believed was his rival.
When Rolle ran back to the alleyway, he tried getting into a white Ford Taurus – a similar vehicle, coincidentally, driven by Detective Walker, who had just pulled in while on his way to see his estranged wife.
“He has no idea he’s not running to the right car,” prosecutor Abbe Rifkin told jurors during Tuesday’s closing arguments.
Walker pulled his police pistol and fired one shot, missing the gunman. Rolle fired his AK47 into the car, killing Walker instantly, before running off and ditching the weapon on the street.
At trial, jurors heard from Jonathan Blanchard, Rolle’s cohort who originally drove him to the alleyway but drove off when he heard gunshots. Another Rolle associate testified that Rolle confessed to the crime.
“All roads lead to Andrew Rolle,” Rifkin said.
But defense attorney David Peckins insisted that the case was built only on the word of unreliable witnesses, with zero forensic evidence.
“There is not one piece of physical evidence that links Andrew Rolle to this scene,” Peckins said. “Not one.”
This is Rolle’s second trial for the Walker slaying. 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.
Regardless of the verdict, Rolle will remain in prison for a long time. During the past year, he was convicted at trial in two separate robbery cases, for which he is serving a total of 50 years.