Sentencing for Gunman Who Killed Off-Duty Philadelphia Police Officer

UPDATE: Sentencing for Rafael Jones was continued to a future date.

Friday morning, a judge will sentence the parolee who gunned down an off-duty Philadelphia Police officer during a robbery gone wrong.

Rafael Jones, now 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 Chancier McFarland testified that Walker looked like a college student and an easy target. The off-duty officer was dressed in shorts and carrying a backpack.

Police arrested Jones and McFarland in the days after the shooting claiming that Jones fired the deadly shot.

A nonjury trial 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 testified in Jones' trial. McFarland is set to appear in court again on March 20.

Jones chose not to take the stand in his own defense.

Jones' sentencing comes a day after another Philadelphia Police officer was gunned down. Gunmen opened fire on Officer Robert Wilson III inside a North Philly video game store.

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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