Jury to deliberate Monday in Delaware police murder trial

A Sussex County jury will begin deliberations Monday in the Derrick Powell murder case.  The defense for the man accused of shooting Officer Chad Spicer to death wrapped up its case on Thursday.  Powell did not take the stand.

Wednesday was an emotional day in the courtroom.  Here is reporter Mark Fowser’s account:

A man who was in a vehicle pulled over by a Georgetown police officer on the night the officer was shot to death has taken the stand in the capital murder trial of his friend. 

Luis Flores was the only individual in the car who never faced charges in connection with the shooting that claimed the life of officer Chad Spicer on September 1st, 2009.  He spoke in detail about the events leading up to the shooting in the Kimmeytown section of Georgetown, for which Derrick Powell is now on trial.

Although the car belonged to Flores, he told the jury in Sussex County that Christopher Reeves was driving the vehicle in order to help them carry out the planned robbery of a drug-dealer.  That attempted crime resulted in a shot being fired in the direction of another man outside of the McDonald’s restaurant on Route 113 in Georgetown.

Spicer and his partner were investigating that shooting when they pulled over the vehicle.

Flores testified that the car came to a stop on a narrow, bumpy road, as he and Powell sat in the back seat while Reeves was driving.  After hearing their car get bumped by a police cruiser, Flores said he almost immediately heard a gunshot.  He said Powell fired a shot out the window, then “took off running.”  Reeves also left the scene.

After remaining in the vehicle for a while, Flores said he got out and spotted the wounded police officer, bleeding.

Flores added that he saw a lot of blood, and that he moved his car to make it easier to get into the squad car.  He said he helped Spicer out of the car, and that the officer fell to the ground.

“I told him not to die,” Spicer testified.

“Why didn’t you run?”, prosecutor Martin Cosgrove asked.

“I don’t know,” replied Flores.

Flores appeared to be near tears, and some in the courtroom gallery sobbed as he described the dying Spicer’s apparent attempts to breathe.

He also testified that Spicer’s partner, who was struck in the neck by the same gunshot, directed him to get away from Spicer.  Flores said he was told to sit on the ground, where he was placed in handcuffs.  He said he was still telling Spicer “not to die.”

Flores also told the court he texted his girlfriend while in cuffs, and was later told by police to try to reach out to Christopher Reeves by text.

Earlier in his testimony, Flores went into detail about how the day unfolded, as he and Reeves worked at the nearby Perdue plant and were planning, with Powell, to carry out the robbery of a drug dealer.  One attempted meeting during a lunch break failed to materialized, leading to the later meeting at the McDonald’s.  Flores said he saw Powell fire a shot at another man, and while Reeves wanted to drive away Flores instead opened the passenger door to let Powell get in.

“He was my friend,” Flores said.  He explained that he and Powell met while in Cumberland Maryland and that just a week earlier the two had used Powell’s gun to “shoot” in the woods near Seaford.

As he left the witness stand, Flores appeared to utter a greeting to Powell as Powell sat at the defense table.

As he questioned the witness, defense attorney Dean Johnson wondered why Flores believed they were “all in it together” when it came to the robbery, but not so regarding the shooting of Spicer.  “He took matters into his own hands,” Flores said of Powell’s actions.

Earlier in the day, Delaware State Police forensic firearms unit investigator Carl Rone talked about the technique he used as he investigated the gunshot at McDonalds and the shot that killed officer Chad Spicer.  He testified that his findings indicated that the same weapon was used in both shootings.  However, Rone also said a shirt worn by Powell did not test positive for firearms residue, and that he was not directed to test the clothing of the other two individuals.

Powell could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.   

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