RPD officer charged with murder to take stand in trial

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (AP) – A trial is underway for a Richmond police officer charged with murder in the off-duty shooting of an 18-year-old man at a car wash.

A 12-person jury with two alternates was selected Tuesday at the Chesterfield County Circuit Court in the trial of Richmond Police Officer David Cobb.

Cobb faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Paterson Brown Jr.

Back in October Brown entered Cobb’s car in a car wash connected to a Sunoco Gas Station at the corner of Turner Road and Midlothian Turnpike. An altercation between Cobb and Brown followed leading to Brown getting shot. On Tuesday the prosecution and the defense made opening arguments.

Paterson Brown. (File photo)
Paterson Brown. (File photo)

David Baugh, Cobb’s attorney, told the jury that Cobb will testify and say he shot and killed Brown in self-defense. Prosecutors say Brown presented no threat to Cobb.

In total 12 witnesses took the stand including the victim’s father, a friend of the victim who was there that day and an employee of the gas station who was just a few feet away before and after the shooting.

The first witness to testify was the victim’s father who merely identified a picture of his dead son’s body. The second witness, an employee who was just feet away from Brown and Cobb during the altercation says Brown had  been acting weird, was moving his hands up and down repeatedly and when asked to get out of the car, refused. That’s when Cobb pulled out his gun, identified himself as an off duty officer and told Brown not to move. That eyewitness says Brown said something profane about  police and went on to say “why you gotta do that, just chill. “He says Brown was eventually shot but he couldn’t see where his hands were at the time.

Several police officers that responded to the scene testified that Cobb told them he saw Brown move his hand toward his side before shooting.

The victim’s friend tells a different story. She says she, Brown and her boyfriend  had  hung out all night prior to the morning Brown was shot. She admits they all had smoked marijuana, and admits Brown was acting weird but says Cobb was being aggressive and even pointed the gun at her at one point as she tried to get Brown out of the car. She says Brown’s hands were up the entire time. Though she admitted that she left the scene with her boyfriend right after the shooting, and went to Texas for four days. When pressed by the defense about why she would leave her friend who had just been shot for Texas, she replied that she panicked.

Surveillance video showing what happened is expected to be played for the jury starting Wednesday. We’ve also learned the Cobb is expected to take the stand.

The trial is expected to last three days.

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