A former Atlanta Police officer is due in court Dec. 3, after being re-indicted for the 2016 death of a 22-year-old. The motion hearing is happening over four months after the re-indictment.
James Rolfe Burns, 36, was previously indicted for the murder of Deravis Caine Rogers on Monroe Drive in June of 2016. However, the charges were dropped by the Fulton County District Attorney earlier in 2018.
The original indictment was deemed nolle prosequi in July because of a procedural matter related to the statement Burns made during a previous Grand Jury proceeding. Nolle prosequi translates to Latin as “we shall no longer prosecute.”
However, on Sept. 5, the D.A. decided to re-indict Burns “out of an abundance of caution in an attempt to avoid future litigation.”
The D.A.'s office said in a statement, "We just want to make sure justice is served.”
As part of the new indictment, Burns faces four counts, which include felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and violation of oath of a public officer.
According to authorities, Burns was responding as backup to a suspicious person call related to car break-ins at an apartment complex after an off-duty officer radioed someone was running away and possibly breaking into cars.
Burns came across Rogers, inside his car, and fired his weapon into Rogers’ moving vehicle. The bullet struck Rogers in the head. He later died at the hospital.
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Burns initially allegedly told investigators Rogers tried to run him over with a car, but an internal affairs investigation found Rogers posed no threat to Burns, and documents from the investigation indicate Burns was outside his patrol car, took cover and shot into Rogers' car without knowing exactly who was inside.
Caine Rogers | Man killed by APD in midtown
Burns was fired from the Atlanta Police Department, but his attorney says he had to make a "two-second decision" and he is innocent.
In a statement to 11Alive after the new indictment, Burns' attorney Drew Findling called the case "constitutionally flawed."
"The last indictment was dismissed because it was constitutionally flawed, and the case continues to be constitutionally flawed," Findling said. "We will continue to fight for Mr Burns constitutional rights as well as to continue to advocate for his innocence."