Witness testifies in cop killer punishment trial
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Testimony continues Tuesday in the punishment trial of a man who admitted to driving drunk and killing a Houston police officer.
In May of last year, Johoan Rodriguez crashed through a barricade on the North Loop, killing HPD Officer Kevin Will. On Tuesday morning, a witness who Officer Will saved by warning her to get out of the way took the stand.
We spoke with both the prosecution and the defense before the trial began on Monday. Rodriguez's defense attorney told us that this would be the most difficult case he had ever tried, emotionally and politically charged.
Opening statements started Monday afternoon and testimony resumed Tuesday morning. Rodriguez has already plead guilty to intoxication manslaughter of a police officer. He struck and killed Officer Will as he worked the scene of a traffic accident in May 2011. A witness on the stand Tuesday, Lynn Bennett, testified that she stopped at the scene of the original wreck that night and described what happened in the moments before Officer Will was killed.
- Witness: "I heard somebody holler, 'Get out of the way!' We jumped the median, from there I noticed the officer was down."
Prosecutor: "What did you think?"
Witness: "There was nothing to think. We thought of his family."
On Tuesday, the jury saw video from the dascham in Officer Will's patrol car. The video shows the officer flying across the screen after being hit by Rodriguez's Volkswagen beetle, then landing on the freeway.
HPD has maintained that it was Officer Will who warned people to get out of the way, saving the lives of others while losing his own. The witness did testify that she had her back turned and assumed it was Officer Will's voice.
Rodriguez faces 5 to 99 years or life in prison. He is eligible for parole in the state of Texas.
Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for the latest on this trial.
houston police department, local, elissa rivas
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