Defense Says Evidence Shows Suspect Was Only Trying To Protect His Life

DENVER (CBS4) – Prosecutors in the Officer Celena Hollis murder case on Thursday were able to convince the judge that there’s enough evidence for a trial.

Rollin Oliver, 21, is charged with first degree murder with extreme indifference in the fatal shooting, which took place at City Park during a Jazz in the Park concert in June.

Hollis, a Denver officer, was shot in the head and killed while reportedly trying to break up a fight between rival gang members.

Family members of Oliver were in court Thursday as the prosecution called the lead detective in the case as a witness.

Officer Celena Hollis (credit: Denver Police)

No one on either side of the case is denying that Oliver fired the fatal shot, and the detective related a number of witness statements and evidence, including:

– A 40 caliber handgun was found tucked into Oliver’s waistband when he was arrested near the scene.
– Four bullets — including the one that killed Hollis — were fired from Oliver’s gun.
– Oliver admitted to firing at least two shots.

The detective said Oliver told police he didn’t go to the park looking for trouble but that he knew that it was a possibility.

The line of questions from the defense revealed that Oliver had the gun for protection after being shot once in the past. William Drexler, Oliver’s defender, tried to weaken reported ties to a gang and claimed that Oliver fired the gun as he was running from the scene and chased by a group of gang members that were violently assaulting his friend.

Drexler said Oliver purchased the gun after he was shot at an unrelated party and they say this is a case of self defense.

The defense also pointed out that Oliver has no criminal record, but it wasn’t enough for the judge to hesitate from his ruling that there is probable cause for Oliver to be bound over for trial.


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