JUDGE

Gunman Guilty of Killing Off-Duty Philadelphia Police Officer

A parolee accused of shooting and killing an off-duty Philadelphia police officer during a robbery gone wrong was found guilty of first-degree murder Thursday.

Rafael Jones, 25, gunned down Officer Moses Walker Jr. during the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2012.

Walker, 40, was in street clothes and walking to a North Philadelphia bus stop after an overnight shift when two men crossed the street and tried to rob him. Police said the 19-year veteran was able to draw his gun but was shot in the chest, stomach and arm. He later died from his injuries.

Co-defendant Chauncier McFarland testified this week that Walker looked like a college student and an easy target. The off-duty officer was dressed in shorts and carrying a backpack.

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Jones and McFarland were arrested in connection to the shooting. Jones was also accused of firing the deadly shot.

The non-jury trial that spared Jones a possible death sentence. The conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.

In June, McFarland pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and robbery. Judge Glenn Bronson told the defendant that he would be sentenced to 20 to 40 years, provided that he cooperate with prosecutors and testify in Jones' trial.

Jones violated parole and should have been in jail at the time of Walker's murder, according to investigators. A parole officer and two supervisors were fired over the supervision of Jones, who failed a drug test days before the slaying. They have fought to regain their jobs, saying they were scapegoats.
 
A federal lawsuit filed by Walker's family blaming the parole board for his death was dismissed by a judge, but Walker's mother said she planned to appeal. 
 
Walker, a church deacon who was also survived by five siblings, had planned to retire in 2013.


PHOTO: Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker, Jr.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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