Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of shooting an off-duty Miami-Dade Police officer during a robbery last year.
Willie Barney, 19, is facing charges of attempted murder with a firearm and armed robbery with a firearm in the September 2012 shooting of Det. Wislyn Joseph. Dedrick Brown and Travares Santiago, both 20, are also charged in the incident.
Police said the three men ambushed Joseph at gunpoint and demanded his jewelry after he had finished volunteering at Union Baptist Church at 6701 Northwest 7th Avenue.
Joseph, who is the first witness in the trial, said he was defenseless, his gun in his car, on the afternoon that Barney shot him. Barney shot Joseph point blank in the chest, according to police.
“When I looked I realized that I was bleeding," Joseph said.
Prosecutor Dawn Kulick said Barney went to the church on that day – but not to pray.
"He didn't go there armed with a Bible," she said. "He went armed with a .45-caliber automatic weapon. And he went there to commit a crime.”
Joseph said he did everything the men wanted, but they shot him anyway.
But Barney's defense lawyer has a different version. He says it's a case of mistaken identity and Barney wasn't even there.
“This is a case not of the horrible things that happened to Detective Joseph," defense attorney Robert Barrar said. "But this is a case of whether or not Willie Barney was the guy who did it."
Barney, Brown and Santiago are being held without bond, and the latter two are still awaiting trial.
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