CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Prosecutors have leveled new allegations against the man on trial accused of opening fire and killing another man in the middle of uptown Charlotte during the 2016 riots.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that they have evidence that shows Rayquan Borum was targeting police, not the man who was shot.
Prosecutor Glen Cole told the judge they have proof that when Borum tried to fire once, and when the gun jammed, he pulled back and fired again.
Cole said they have video evidence of Borum’s own statements he gave police after the shooting and they have someone who was with Borum that night who can testify that he was trying to shoot officers.
Borum’s attorneys objected to what the prosecutors said to potential jurors and said that could possibly give the prosecution an unfair advantage -- including a statement that it is Borum’s own fault that he’s here on trial.
After hearing the allegations, the attorneys argued that jurors might not find him innocent.
One potential juror told the judge she could not be fair after hearing Borum intended to shoot police, since she has some friends who are officers.
Borum is charged with fatally shooting Justin Carr on Sept. 21, 2016, on College Street outside the Omni Hotel as people protested an officer-involved shooting.
Borum appeared to doze off in the courtroom last Thursday, bringing jury selection to a screeching halt.
Borum’s attorneys raised serious questions about whether he’s competent to stand trial, and the judge ordered he see an expert to determine if he was ready to move forward.
Earlier last week, the judge ruled that the jury will hear Borum’s confession about firing that fatal shot.
“It's important to the prosecution,” attorney Rob Corbett said. “Obviously, it's important to the defense.”
Corbett told Channel 9 that a confession doesn't make or break the case.
Corbett said Borum's attorneys could argue that he was coerced or that he may have even been lying to cover for someone else when he told police he fired the fatal shots.
"They are already prepared for this,” Corbett said. “They knew about the statement. It wasn't a surprise. They've already been prepared how to handle the case if the statement came in.”
The shooting happened as thousands of people packed into uptown to protest the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in north Charlotte, which led to days of unrest in the city.
Channel 9 cameras were rolling when the gunfire erupted just a few yards away.
Carr was shot in the head and died almost instantly.
Two days later, police arrested Borum and charged him with murder.
Borum was taken into an interview room, and for three hours talked with investigators.
Video of that interview was shown in court on Monday.
Police told Borum video placed him at the scene and showed him firing that shot. He initially denied any involvement, and then finally admitted to firing a shot.
An investigator asked Borum why he fired the fatal shot.
"There are two things that happened, you are either a cold-blooded killer or you fired off a round to disperse the crowd,” an investigator with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said,
Borum said the situation was getting crazy and he fired the shot to go home by dispersing the crowd and that nobody was the target.
After Borum was taken to jail and booked, he talked to a friend on the phone about his confession, which was also played in court.
The friend asked Borum why he would confess.
Borum said, "They say I'm all over the camera.”
Borum's attorney said he was offered a 16-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree murder, plus a gun charge in 2017, but Borum rejected the deal because he said he didn't mean to hurt anyone.
Even though Borum admitted to firing the gun, he pleaded not guilty and is standing trial for first-degree murder.
Previously in court, prosecutors said they planned to prove Borum intended to use the gun all along.
Police say they have surveillance video of Borum shooting a weapon that night, plus a confession that he fired the weapon.
If Borum is convicted, he faces life in prison.
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