Car thief guilty of trying to kill motorcycle officer
Jamel M. Albritton told a Circuit Court judge Monday that he wasn't trying to run over or hurt a motorcycle officer who had chased him down for speeding in a stolen car.
He had backed into the officer, leaving him immobile on the road with an injured ankle and a busted-up bike.
"I was trying to put the car in park," said Albritton, 22.
Chief Judge V. Thomas Forehand Jr. didn't buy it.
He noted the rarity of the charge of attempted capital murder of a police officer. He noted the difficulty of proving that defendants in such cases actually intended to kill the officers involved.
Then, he said the prosecutor, Amy James, had done it.
"He was desperate," Forehand said. "He did this - in my view - I believe he did this purposely."
Albritton faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he's sentenced Feb. 8. Forehand also convicted him of maliciously wounding the officer, Raymond Kerr Jr., during the April 8 incident.
Albritton pleaded guilty to stealing the car, a 2006 Lexus, from a Suffolk dealer a week earlier, hit-and-run where an injury was involved, and eluding police.
Moments earlier, the officer's radar had clocked Albritton going 80 mph on the Great Bridge Bypass. He gave chase.
Albritton stopped once and then sped off again, Kerr testified Monday. Albritton stopped a second time and, as the officer got within 20 feet, turned, looked back and accelerated rapidly in reverse, slamming into the motorcycle before Kerr could jump clear.
Albritton sped off, leaving Kerr in the road with a cut chin and a chipped ankle, the officer said. The judge noted that Albritton didn't need to change the car's gears or back up in order to continue his escape attempt, and had a choice of directions in which to flee. The car also was equipped with a back up video display, Detective James Thomas testified.
A state database of circuit court cases decided in 2009 shows four charges of attempted capital murder in the seven Hampton Roads cities, all in Chesapeake. Two of those could be confirmed to have involved attacks on police officers. A jury acquitted the defendant in one case, and a judge found the defendant guilty in the other case.
Matthew Bowers, (757) 222-5221, email@example.com
Published on HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com (http://hamptonroads.com)