Jury finds man guilty of murdering Everett officer Dan Rocha

Apr 3, 2023, 11:55 AM | Updated: 2:30 pm


Officer Dan Rocha's shooter found guilty (Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

A jury found the man arrested for shooting and killing Dan Rocha, an Everett Police Officer, guilty.

The Snohomish County jury found Richard Rotter guilty of aggravated first-degree murder, illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance, and eluding police after his trial began Friday.

Community honors fallen Everett police officer Dan Rocha one year after line-of-duty death

As court documents state, while Rocha was inside a North Everett Starbucks waiting for coffee, he noticed a blue Mini Cooper roll into the parking lot. Not long after, a man began to move items, including guns, from the Mini Cooper to a silver Ford Fusion.

In body cam footage, Rocha stepped outside the Starbucks and addressed Rotter, saying, “Do me a favor, bud, leave the guns alone, okay?”

According to court records, Rocha alerted dispatch and was told Rotter had outstanding arrest warrants and was a convicted felon.

When Rocha tried to arrest him, there was a struggle, ending in Rotter shooting Rocha five times and then driving over his body.

Rotter’s defense attorneys did not dispute that he killed Rocha but maintained the murder was not premeditated, but instead, it was an impulsive action due to Rotter’s PTSD and substance abuse.

“This is not a brain that premeditates during a time of stress, it’s going to be reactionary, and it’s going to be impulsive,” said defense attorney Natalie Tarantino to KIRO 7.

Prosecutors said the murder was premeditated because Rotter was determined not to be arrested and go to jail.

“The defendant made a business decision. It was worth it to him to kill a cop who just wouldn’t let it go,” said prosecutor Craig Matheson.

The jury’s decision to find Rotter guilty of aggravated first-degree murder means they believe the killing was premeditated. First-degree murder charged would result in Rotter spending his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Today’s verdict comes with mixed feelings. While on one hand, I am pleased to see that the defendant will be held accountable for his actions to the fullest extent of the law, it still doesn’t bring Dan back, nor does it change the fact that his family lost a loving son, husband, brother, and father,” Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said.

KIRO 7 contributed to this report

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