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Trial begins in deadly shooting of NYPD officer

Posted at 2:26 AM, Oct 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-21 02:26:25-04

NEW YORK (WCBS/CNN) - The murder trial of a man accused of gunning down a New York police officer in 2015 began on Friday. Demetrius Blackwell pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges in the death of detective Brian Moore.

The family of NYPD officer Moore left the courtroom on Friday, one of them appearing to wipe away tears. They were surrounded by dozens of officers on hand in support.

Opening statements were made at Queens County Supreme Court. Blackwell, 37, pleading not guilty to murder charges.

"He cold-heartedly pulled out his weapon, shot this police officer in the side of his head, tried to kill his partner. Cold-hearted killer,” said assistant District Attorney Daniel Sanders.

Blackwell is accused of opening fire on Moore and his partner Erik Jensen in Queens Village in May of 2015.  Moore was shot at close range in the head. Two days later he died in the hospital from his injuries.

Defense attorneys argued Blackwell suffers from epilepsy that can't be treated with medication,  telling members of the jury he had surgery on his brain two years before the shooting. They argued that has affected his cognitive abilities.

Sanders told the media that's not a reason to kill. "It's the typical playbook for the defense to say, 'look, my guy has issues. He has an excuse why he pulled the trigger.' But I don't know about you, I have family and friends that have epilepsy and they don't kill New York City police officers,” Sanders said.

Prosecutors say Blackwell shot Moore simply because he didn't want to be caught with an illegal gun. Blackwell is a convicted felon with nine previous arrests.

Blackwell is also facing an attempted murder charge after being accused of firing at Moore's partner Jensen. If convicted, Blackwell faces up to life in prison without parole.

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