Grand Jury indicts suspect in murder of LMPD Officer Nick Rodman - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Grand Jury indicts suspect in murder of LMPD Officer Nick Rodman

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Wathaniel Woods in a recent court appearance Wathaniel Woods in a recent court appearance
LMPD Officer Nick Rodman died March 29, 2017, one day after his patrol car was hit by a suspect fleeing from police. LMPD Officer Nick Rodman died March 29, 2017, one day after his patrol car was hit by a suspect fleeing from police.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The man accused of murder in the death of LMPD Officer Nick Rodman last week has been indicted by a Jefferson County Grand Jury.

On Wednesday, the grand jury returned an 11-count indictment against 37-year-old Wathaniel L. Woods, also known as James Woods.

The charges include: murder, assault, fleeing or evading police, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, wanton endangerment, trafficking in a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm, illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia while in possession of a firearm, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, driving without a license, being a persistent felony offender and disregarding a traffic control device.

According to court documents, on March 28 Woods had been arguing with the mother of his child when he"pushed the victim and punched her on the face multiple times causing pain and visible injuries." Woods then pulled a gun 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."

As LMPD officers were pursuing Woods, Rodman was attempting to join the chase in the Portland neighborhood when 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 the next day. 

Police say they found the gun, packaged cocaine, digital scales and plastic baggies in Woods' vehicle. His 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.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Elizabeth Jones Brown and Justin Janes are the prosecutors on the case. Woods is due back in court later this month. 

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