Suspect pleads not guilty in murder of LMPD Officer Nick Rodman - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Suspect pleads not guilty in murder of LMPD Officer Nick Rodman

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The man charged in connection with the murder of LMPD Officer Nick Rodman pleaded not guilty in court on Monday. 

Wathaniel L. Woods, 37, also known as James L. Woods, was arrested Sunday night and booked into Metro Corrections facing multiple charges, including; murder, assault, fleeing or evading police, trafficking a controlled substance, wanton endangerment, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, driving on a DUI suspended license, operating on a suspended or revoked license, possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to maintain insurance.

Sheriffs deputies and EMS workers brought the 37-year-old to his arraignment. He is still being treated for injuries from the crash. A judge set his bond at $1 million cash. 

According to the arrest report, Woods had been in a verbal argument with the mother of his child. During that argument, Woods "pushed the victim and punched her on the face multiple times causing pain and visible injuries." Woods then displayed a handgun and struck the victim with it on the left hand.

The report noted that "as bystanders attempted to stop the assault, Woods fired multiple shots from his handgun before fleeing the scene in a vehicle."

The crash happened not long after that as Rodman was attempting to join a pursuit of Woods in the Portland neighborhood. Woods, who was driving a 2001 Lexus, struck Rodman's police cruiser as he was trying to make a left turn at a green light at 26th and Duncan, causing the car to burst into flames. 

Rodman was trapped inside the vehicle until being removed and taken to the hospital in critical condition. He died on March 29.  

Woods' vehicle struck the left front side of Rodman's vehicle. Both Woods and Rodman were transported to University Hospital.

The police report states pursuant to a search warrant, a loaded handgun, individually packaged cocaine, digital scales and plastic baggies were recovered from Woods' vehicle.

Woods' blood was collected at the hospital and tested positive for alcohol, cocaine and opiates.

According to court documents, Woods' criminal history dates back to at least 2000. He has previously been convicted of wanton endangerment, robbery, burglary and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, assault of a police officer, cocaine possession and escape.

Woods also has pending charges from a September 2015 arrest for drug trafficking and engaging in an organized crime syndicate. He posted a $10,000 bond and was arrested again in October 2015 for drugs.

Court records show Woods was back to court in November 2015, pleaded not guilty and was released on bond again. He was charged in August 2016 with driving on a suspended license and failed to appear in court for the traffic violation and a warrant was issued in December. That warrant was served on Woods on Sunday.

Woods' family members were in court Monday, but did not want to comment. Woods is due back in court later this month.

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