Opening Statements Begin in Miami-Dade Police Officer Shooting Trial

Willie Barney, 19, facing attempted murder charge in shooting of Det. Wislyn Joseph

By Willard Shepard
|  Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013  |  Updated 11:32 PM EDT
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Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of Willie Barney, 19,  who is accused of shooting an off-duty Miami-Dade Police officer during a robbery last year. Prosecutor Dawn Kulick, Detective Wislyn Joseph and defense attorney Robert Barrar spoke about the case.

Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of Willie Barney, 19, who is accused of shooting an off-duty Miami-Dade Police officer during a robbery last year. Prosecutor Dawn Kulick, Detective Wislyn Joseph and defense attorney Robert Barrar spoke about the case.

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Gold Spurred Crime Spree in Miami-Dade: Authorities

Gold was a motivating factor behind a violent crime spree in Miami-Dade County, authorities said Thursday. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Willie Barney, Dedrick Brown and Travares Santiago were a three-man wrecking crew who attacked people for their gold jewelry. They committed five crimes, including last month's shooting of off-duty Miami-Dade Police Det. Wislyn Joseph, according to authorities. Police initially arrested the trio for the police shooting, and then connected them to the other jewelry robberies, they said. Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa also spoke about the case.

Miami-Dade Police Officer in Stable Condition After Shooting: Cops

Authorities were searching for three men who robbed and shot an off-duty Miami-Dade Police officer on Saturday evening in northwest Miami-Dade, police said. Just hours after being shot in the chest area, the officer, who has not been identified, was listed in stable condition. He was talking, alert and in good spirits, police spokeswoman Rosanna Cordero-Stutz said during a news conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
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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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