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Criminal defense: Judge reduces ex-cop's murder charge

A white police officer charged with the first-degree murder of a black man has had the charge reduced to third-degree murder. The criminal defense team of the accused Pennsylvania man said the judge made the right decision after reviewing evidence of the 2017 incident that claimed the life of the 30-year-old man. The former Philadelphia officer is accused of shooting the man in the back after a disagreement over a dirt bike and while the man was leaving the scene.

The former police officer's defense team said the accused felt a gun on the deceased during a search. He said the deceased tried to shoot the accused during the scuffle, but the gun jammed. The judge also gave the green light for the case to proceed straight to trial, forgoing a preliminary hearing.

The accused was granted bail in the amount of $500,000. The former officer, who was with the Philadelphia police force for 12 years, was fired from his position last fall. The shooting was seen by many in the black community as being fueled by racism and was the cause of several protests, including those by Black Lives Matter.  

Understandably, murder is a serious felony charge. A Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer may be able to help those so accused to mount an aggressive defense against the charge. An experienced attorney and his or her legal team will review all evidence to identify weaknesses in the prosecution's case with the goal of obtaining the best outcome possible for his or her client. 

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