The last moments of Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker played out in court Monday on surveillance video and in the emotional words of colleagues who stood with him as he was dying.
"Moses, Moses, who shot you?" was the question posed by Officer Ryan Saunders, a fellow 22d District policeman, who was first on the scene shortly before 6 a.m. Aug. 18, 2012.
"He said, 'I, I,' and then his eyes rolled back in his head and he stopped breathing," said Saunders, who wiped away tears as he recalled how doctors announced Walker's death in Hahnemann University Hospital's emergency room.
Saunders was among the first witnesses to testify Monday in the murder trial of Rafael Jones, 25, who prosecutors allege shot and killed Walker, 40, a 19-year veteran officer.
The radio call Saunders responded to was not unusual in the North Philadelphia neighborhood around 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue.
It was not until Saunders rolled over the man balled into a fetal position at Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Woodstock Street that, he said, he recognized Walker.
Police Sgt. Charles Cook testified that he arrived moments later and helped transfer the shot man from Saunders' police cruiser to an ambulance.
"I knew it was Moses, but I didn't want to believe it was Moses," said Cook.
Officer Eyleen Archie, who left the 22d District at the same time as Walker that morning, recalled teasing him about his civilian clothes, including the baggy shorts she called his "chef pants."
A few minutes later, Archie testified, she pulled up behind Walker at 17th and Cecil B. Moore and called out, "Moses, you want a ride?"
"I'm OK, sweetie," she said Walker replied. "I'll walk. I'm going to catch a bus."
Jones was one of two men charged in the robbery and slaying of Walker. Surveillance video showed Walker being tailed by two men for about a block before he was accosted and shot.
Jones was to have gone on trial for his life Monday but accepted a prosecution offer to withdraw the death penalty if he agreed to a nonjury trial before Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart.
Defense attorney Michael Coard said afterward that "we've already won half a victory. We've saved a person's life. It's bad enough that one person lost his life."
The main evidence against Jones will likely come from his alleged accomplice, Chancier McFarland, 21, who pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in June in a deal that lets him escape life in prison if he testifies for the prosecution in Jones' trial.
Under McFarland's plea agreement, he will be sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison if he fulfills his promise to cooperate.
Coard said the defense will maintain that McFarland was the shooter and was the only one to have any of Walker's property after he was killed.