NEW ORLEANS (AP) For the second time in three years, a federal jury is deliberating whether fear or malice drove a former New Orleans police officer to fatally shoot a man outside a strip mall less than a week after Hurricane Katrina's landfall.
At the conclusion of David Warren's retrial Tuesday, a prosecutor said the rookie officer shot and killed 31-year-old Henry Glover because he hated looters and thought nobody would care during the chaotic aftermath of the 2005 storm.
"He shot Henry Glover because he could," Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Knight said during her closing arguments. "It was Katrina, and no one was watching."
Warren's lawyers urged jurors to consider the hazardous conditions that police officers had to endure after broken levees flooded most of the city and left many desperate residents fighting for survival.
"It was a frightening time, and you'll never be able to put yourself in the situation of David Warren," said defense attorney Richard Simmons. "They did the best they could under those trying circumstances while everybody else was watching on TV."
Warren testified on Monday that he feared for his life when he shot Glover because he thought he saw a gun in his hand, but prosecutors said Glover wasn't armed and didn't pose a threat.
Jurors deliberated for about six hours Tuesday before adjourning for the night. They will reconvene Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk sentenced Warren to nearly 26 years in prison after a different jury convicted him of manslaughter in 2010. But a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his convictions last year, ruling that Warren should have been tried separately from four other former officers who were charged in an alleged cover-up of Glover's death.
Another former officer, Gregory McRae, was convicted in 2010 of burning Glover's body in a car after a good Samaritan drove the dying man to a makeshift police station. The same 5th Circuit panel that ordered a new trial for Warren also upheld McRae's convictions.
Jurors for Warren's retrial were barred from hearing any testimony about the alleged cover-up, including any references to the burned body. Warren wasn't charged with participating in a cover-up.
Jurors also heard testimony from a former officer, Alec Brown, who said Warren told him shortly after the shooting that he believed looters were "animals" who deserved to be shot. Warren denied saying that.
Earlier on the same morning as Glover's shooting, Warren had fired what he called a "warning shot" at a man who had been riding a bike near the mall. Warren said he knew officers aren't allowed to fire warning shots, but was worried the man intended to do "something stupid" because he had circled the mall several times.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings