Nearly two years after an off-duty Philadelphia Police officer was gunned down during an apparent robbery, the two men accused in the case go on trial Tuesday.
Rafael Jones and Chancier McFarland are accused in the August 2012 murder of Officer Moses Walker, Jr.
Walker was 40 years old when he died. On Aug. 18, 2012, two men approached Walker, a 22nd District officer and 19-year police veteran, as he walked home after a shift around 6 a.m. on 20th and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. in North Philadelphia.
"He had just gotten off work, and one of his coworkers offered him a ride and he said, ‘It’s a nice day out, I'll walk," said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
As Walker walked towards a bus stop, he was suddenly approached by two armed robbers who shot him several times, striking him in the chest and abdomen. When police arrived, they found Walker face down on the ground. He died a short time later at Hahnemann Hospital.
Chancier McFarland, who turns 21 Friday, and Rafael Jones, now 24, were later arrested and charged with Walker’s murder.
Both have remained behind bars without bail awaiting trial. Both
Each suspect has accused the other of being the triggerman but police say they believe Jones shot Walker.
Jones was on probation and just three days before walker's killing had reported to his probation officer Jose Rodriguez. During a civil hearing, Rodriguez testified that he asked his supervisor for a warrant to have Jones put back in prison for failing a drug test, but his supervisor said no.
The state said its investigation showed that all three probation officers -- Rodriguez, Rosa Hernandez and Michelle Rivera -- were at fault and all three were fired. The officers have fought to get their jobs back, claiming they were scapegoats.
Walker’s family filed a federal lawsuit blaming the parole board for Walker’s death. While a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, Walker’s mother, Wayne Lipscomb, planned to appeal.
"I know Moses was not the first case where they did not do their job, it was just at this time, my family took the loss," she said in an interview last March.
Walker, who had five siblings, had planned to retire in 2013.
"It's hard for us,” said Walker's cousin, Craig Seawright Sr. “It's going to be hard for our family to take this loss. We're going to be strong, keep our heads up, but it's going to be hard.”
"He was known as a very gentle individual, very kind, never had a harsh word for anyone. Many of his coworkers, the first thing they said was he wouldn't harm a fly,” said Ramsey. “He was just a guy with one of those mellow personalities-- always smiling, always looking to help people and it's just tragic his life ended this way."