Witnesses testify in Fermin Arzu case

THE BRONX - Two eye witnesses testified Wednesday in the trial of former traffic Officer Rafael Lora, who prosecutors believe shot and intended to hurt a Honduran immigrant in 2007.

Prosecutors say Lora shot and killed Fermin Arzu after the man drunkenly drove his car into a parked car near Lora?s Longwood home in May 2007.

Demaris Marrera testified Wednesday that she rushed outside the Loras? home when she heard a car crash. According to Marrera, Lora followed her a minute later with his gun in hand. Marrera says Lora approached the driver, Fermin Arzu, opened the car door and spoke with him before the car took off, dragging him a short distance. Marrera believes Lora then fired his gun and killed Arzu.

Lora pleaded not guilty in December 2007 to one count of first-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors said the off-duty officer shot Arzu five times in the heart after the drunken man crashed his car outside Lora?s home.

Ernest Covantes also testified as a witness Wednesday. According to Covantes, Lora was standing outside the car door at the time of the shooting.

Testimony from an EMT and a member of the Crime Scene Unit will be given later this week. Police say Lora faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.

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