LUMBERTON — The shooting of police Officer Jeremiah Goodson has forced the District Attorney’s Office to postpone the trial of a man who is accused of provoking a fight in 2007 that led to the stabbing death of a 21-year-old.
The trial of Adam Rozier, who is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death of Chad Allen Arnette, is expected to be rescheduled for Sept. 17, assistant District Attorney Tony Berk said.
Berk said that “among other things,” the trial is being postponed because it would call for testimony from several Lumberton police officers still mourning the death of Goodson.
“I’m not going to put them through that right now,” he said.
Berk, who will prosecute the case, said he expects a 10-day trial, based on the length of the trial of Drew Floyd, who was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in Arnette’s death and sentenced to 45 to 63 months in prison on Sept. 20, 2011. Rozier is accused of provoking Floyd to stab Arnette with a kitchen knife.
Floyd and Rozier, along with a friend, met Arnette and a friend in the store’s parking lot on Feb. 14, 2007, where the two groups argued over text messages Arnette had sent to Floyd’s girlfriend. According to witness testimony at Floyd’s trial, Rozier instigated the fight that led to Arnette’s death when he attacked Arnette after both parties had agreed to leave.
According to the indictment handed down by a grand jury, Rozier “knowingly advised, encouraged and instigated William Andrew Floyd to attack Chad Arnette with a kitchen knife, a deadly weapon, causing Chad Arnette’s death.” It goes on to say that “the defendant was present with the opportunity and duty to prevent the act and failed to do so.”
Berk said cases for Johnny Grice, who is charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, and breaking and entering and who also faces habitual felon charges, could also be pushed back one to two months.