LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Two weeks after Louisville Metro Police Officer Nick Rodman was killed in the line of duty, the man charged with his death is pleading not guilty.
James Woods' was arraigned Monday morning. He told the judge he will hire his own attorney.
Police said Woods was under the influence when he hit Officer Rodman's police cruiser. Rodman later died from his injuries.
Since the accident, some have expressed frustration with Woods' lengthy criminal history. The convicted felon has a criminal background dating back to the 90s. By the end of 2005, he was charged with ten traffic violations- including reckless driving, and DUI. In the years following, he picked up drug charges like trafficking cocaine.
"He has a record. There is certainly many people out in our community that have much worse records than mister woods. And there are certainly people who have much better records than mister woods,” former federal prosecutor Brian Butler said.
Since the crash that killed LMPD Officer Nick Rodman, Woods' has been under fire. Officers and community members claim he shouldn't have been out on the streets, and cite the fact that he bonded out of jail in December of last year.
Butler said Woods' time served was steep, and his bond was fair.
He said, "It doesn't appear that he ever caught any breaks at all. He did have pending charges from reviewing the record prior to this incident but the judge had set a bond in that case and the bond had been posted, that’s the way that the criminal justice system works."
The suspect has been in and out of jail over the last 20 years.
Butler said his record will be part of the case moving forward, as the prosecutor looks at the possibility of a plea deal. He said he understands community frustration, but that the only thing his records proves, is that the system worked as it is designed to.
"It appears from looking at this that he was treated fairly, that he didn't get any substantial breaks in his past,” Butler said.
Woods was moved out of Metro Corrections over the weekend and is now being held in the Kentucky State Reformatory on a $1 million cash bond.
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