Florida Supreme Court declines to take Nouman Raja case on appeal

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Nov 09, 2021 4:21 PM

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The Florida Supreme Court will not take up the case of former South Florida police officer Nouman Raja, who was appealing his convictions for manslaughter and attempted murder.

Raja, 44, was convicted in 2019 of manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder for killing Corey Jones, a stranded motorist, in 2015. He is serving a 25-year prison sentence.

Jones, 31, was calling for a tow truck on Interstate 95 off-ramp in Palm Beach Gardens when he was confronted by Raja, who had been working in plain clothes for a car burglary operation.

Audio of the Oct. 18, 2015, confrontation was recorded on Jones’ cell phone through roadside assistance. That was not known to Raja, however. After the shooting, Raja called 911 from his personal cell phone and later made comments to investigators that were untruthful. When the recording surfaced, he was fired.

Months later, in June 2016, Raja was arrested and charged.

Prosecutors called Raja “confrontational” and said he lied about identifying himself as a police officer to Jones. Investigators said Raja was driving an unmarked, white van with no red and blue lights, as he was working an undercover assignment in a nearby mall parking lot.

He drove his van the wrong way down the exit ramp and then parked in a way that blocked Jones’ SUV from being able to drive forward.

ID Photo User Upload Caption: Former police officer Nouman Raja appears in this photo from the Florida Department of Corrections on May 1, 2019. He is serving a 25-year prison sentence for convictions in the fatal shooting of stranded motorist Corey Jones on Oct. 18, 2015. - Original Credit: Florida Department of Correction - Original Source: Florida Department of Correction

ID Photo User Upload Caption: Former police officer Nouman Raja appears in this photo from the Florida Department of Corrections on May 1, 2019. He is serving a 25-year prison sentence for convictions in the fatal shooting of stranded motorist Corey Jones on Oct. 18, 2015. – Original Credit: Florida Department of Correction – Original Source: Florida Department of Correction (Florida Department of Correction / Courtesy)

Wearing just a tan T-shirt, jeans and a construction hat, Raja approached Jones and asked, “you good?” Jones said he was good multiple times as Raja responded each time with, “really?”

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Jones, armed with a handgun of his own and a concealed weapons license, pulled out his gun, likely fearing a robbery or carjacking. That’s when Raja shouted at Jones to put his hands up. Raja shot Jones, who died at the scene.

The former Palm Beach Gardens police officer is at a state prison in Ocala with a scheduled release date of Feb. 27, 2044, state records show.

Raja lost an appeal with the Fourth District Court of Appeals in April. The Florida Supreme Court declined on Friday to hear the case, but did not include any specifics about the decision in its two-paragraph decision.

Attorneys for Raja, nor for Jones’ family, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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