On Friday, a jury acquitted a Florida man of murder and attempted first-degree murder in an incident at that man’s home in 2017.
Andrew Coffee IV, 27, was charged with shooting at Indian River County Sheriff’s Special Forces during a morning drug raid at his Gifford home in March 2017.
His girlfriend, Alteria Woods, who was 21 at the time, was caught in the crossfire and killed in the raid. Records show that she was wounded by 10 bullets fired by a member of the special forces group.
Coffey was indicted on one second-degree felony charge in connection with Woods’ death; the charge is defined as willful but not willful homicide. Coffee also faced three counts of first-degree attempted murder and one episode of shooting or throwing a deadly missile. The charges carry a life sentence.
Coffee said he defended himself and defended himself when he shot at the deputies. On Wednesday, while testifying, he told a judge that he and Woods were asleep when MPs smashed his bedroom window using a pole that detonated a flashing device, Treasure Coast reported.
Coffee, who testified on his own behalf, said he was asleep and thought the flash was a shot, so he fired his pistol because he thought he was being attacked. He previously said at a March hearing that he believed he was mugged when he saw what looked like a rifle pointed at him through a window. He said he did not know about the raid when he fired a pistol through the window two or three times.
“I tried to protect myself and Alteria, and I thought I was doing it, but I feel like I was not protecting her. I can’t sleep with this … they killed her, “Coffee said Wednesday, according to WPBF.
But the prosecutor’s office said that the deputies announced their arrival.
According to the protocols of the court sessions, the deputies, in response to the shots from the “Coffee”, fired more than a dozen shots towards the window. Woods was later found dead on a bed in Coffee’s bedroom.
In July 2017, a grand jury dropped all criminal charges against members of the special forces. An internal investigation by the sheriff’s office also cleared members of any policy and procedure violations.
The jury sat for about 11 hours before acquitting Coffee on the above charges on Friday.
In a separate trial on the same day, the same jury found Coffee guilty on one count of criminal possession of a firearm. The maximum prison sentence on the charge is 30 years. Assistant State Attorney Chris Taylor said after the trial that the state would seek the maximum fine.
Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers issued a statement to news outlets following Friday’s verdict, which said: “It is unfortunate that the jury did not see that the tragic death of Alteria Woods was a direct result of the actions of Andrew Coffee IV.
“We care with all our hearts for the Woods family as they still suffer the loss of their daughter, but we support the claim that she would still be here if Coffee simply complied with law enforcement.”