In reversal, man pleads not guilty to fatally shooting cop

April 25, 2022 GMT

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — In a change of plans, a man on Monday pleaded not guilty to aggravated first-degree murder in the shooting of Everett, Washington, police officer Dan Rocha.

Richard Rotter’s lawyer said last week that Rotter planned to plead guilty. But at a hearing Monday in Snohomish County Superior Court, Rotter entered three pleas of not guilty, for the murder charge and charges of unlawfully having a firearm and possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver, The Daily Herald reported.

No explanation was given for the reversal, but if Rotter is convicted on all three counts, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Rocha confronted Rotter outside a Starbucks March 25 because he appeared to be moving guns between two cars, according to charging documents. Rotter fought with the officer and then fatally shot him, documents said.

Police arrested Rotter in Everett following a brief pursuit that ended in a three-vehicle crash.

A trial for Rotter is scheduled to begin in late May. He remained in custody Monday at the Snohomish County Jail. He is being held without bail.