EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — An attorney for a man accused of fatally shooting an Everett police officer in late March said he plans to plead guilty to first-degree aggravated murder and other charges.
Richard Rotter, 50, plans to enter the plea in the death of officer Dan Rocha on Monday in Snohomish County Superior Court, the Daily Herald reported.
His attorney, Natalie Tarantino, said Rotter made the decision after consulting with an attorney and reviewing the evidence.
Tarantino said Rotter would also plead guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver. He did not speak when he appeared in court on Tuesday.
Around 2 p.m. on March 25, Rocha confronted Rotter in a Starbucks parking lot because Rotter appeared to be moving weapons from a Mini Cooper into a Ford Fusion, according to court documents.
Rocha, 41, turned on his body camera, telling the dispatch he was checking the “suspicious” circumstances. He asked for a backup officer, and a police sergeant said he would be there shortly. In the meantime, Rocha approached Rotter, asked about the guns, and verified Rotter’s identity.
A dispatcher told Rocha that there was a domestic violence warrant for Rotter and that he had a previous felony conviction, according to the charges. Rocha allegedly told Rotter he was not free to leave and the two fought and fell to the sidewalk, the charges allege.
Rotter then shot the officer, who died at the scene. Rotter fled in the Mini Cooper and was arrested after ramming two other vehicles, documents show.
In the two vehicles Rotter used that day, police said they found a rifle, ammunition and 1,950 “fentanyl-compatible” pills, as well as what appeared to be heroin and methamphetamine.
Rotter, who has a long criminal history, had recently told at least two people that he never wanted to go back to prison, according to the charging documents.
Rotter remains in jail without bond.
Rocha joined the Everett Police Department in 2017, starting as a parking enforcement officer. He had been promoted to patrolman in 2018.
The Associated Press