A judge on Wednesday set an ambitious timeline for the case of Nouman Raja, the former Palm Beach Gardens police officer accused of manslaughter and attempted murder in the shooting death of 31-year-old stranded motorist Corey Jones.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Samantha Schosbereg Feuer told attorneys at a hearing Wednesday to come back for the next hearing Feb. 21 so they could try to put Raja’s case on track for a trial next summer.
But Chief Assistant State Attorney Brian Fernandes told Feuer that he has nearly 300 total expert witnesses on the state witness list so far and must conduct dozens of interviews in the coming months.
Fernandes and defense attorney Richard Lubin told Feuer some of those witnesses live out of the area, so they will be traveling extensively through the rest of year to interview as many witnesses as they can. The lawyers told Feuer the have already begun the process of trading hundreds of pages of witness interviews and other evidence in the case.
Raja, who has been on house arrest since shortly after he was charged in June, was not in court. The hearing came a day after the Jones’ family and friends mourned the one-year anniversary of the day he was shot to death by Raja on the southbound Interstate 95 off-ramp at PGA Boulevard.
Jones’ father, stepmother, and brother were in court for the hearing, along with his maternal grandparents and aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Raja told his supervisors that although he was in plainclothes, he identified himself as a police officer when he approached Jones. He said he shot at Jones only because Jones charged at him with a gun.
A recording from the roadside assistance line Jones had connected with minutes before the encounter, however, did not record any identification from Raja, just the sound of the officer asking Jones repeatedly whether he was “good,” then ordering him to put his hands up seconds before the shooting began.
FROM THE START
Read The Post’s complete coverage of the Corey Jones case, myPalmBeachPost.com/coreyjones