Deandre Charles, the 15-year-old accused of murdering Rabbi Yosef Raksin, Hy”d, during a daylight robbery attempt in 2014 in Northeast Miami-Dade, pleaded not guilty Monday.
The tall, lanky teen appeared Monday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for his arraignment after a grand jury last week indicted him for first-degree murder.
Prosecutors say Charles shot and killed Rabbi Raksin, visiting from Brooklyn who was walking to shul on a Shabbos morning in August 2014. Raksin, in accordance with Halachah, had no valuables on him when he was felled with one .40-caliber bullet to the chest.
Raksin was walking to Bais Menachem Chabad on Northeast 172nd Terrace. His murder sparked fear in the heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, which raised $50,000 for a reward to help catch his killer.
Charles, a student at Norland High School in Miami with a scant criminal history, remains jailed while awaiting trial.
The state has not detailed the full evidence against Charles, who was 14 at the time of the slaying. But Miami-Dade prosecutors, in a news conference last week, said DNA and eyewitness testimony linked Charles to the crime scene.
“Everyone wants to know some facts about this case. Mr. Charles does. I do,” said his defense attorney, Adam Goodman. “Right now, Mr. Charles is sitting in jail not knowing any of the evidence against him.”
Charles’ family has told reporters that the teen has an alibi for the day of the shooting. Prosecutors have issued subpoenas to them to take their sworn statements.