Rollin Oliver pleads not guilty to murdering Denver Officer Celena Hollis during jazz festival

DENVER - The man accused of opening fire in a crowded park and killing an off-duty Denver police officer pleaded not guilty to murder Thursday.

Rollin Oliver was arrested shortly after the shooting on June 24 that killed Officer Celena Hollis during a free jazz festival at City Park. He was in court Thursday for his arraignment.

After entering his plea, a bond hearing was scheduled for Nov. 8.

Last month, arrest documents were released that revealed what witnesses told police about the shooting.

One witness said he saw a black man running away, "looking back and firing a small handgun," the affidavit said.

During an interview at police headquarters, Oliver told police that he and a friend were walking back to their car when they were surrounded by several men, the affidavit said.

Oliver said he feared he was going to be punched, so he pulled out his gun and fired twice at two men, who then stopped coming at him, the affidavit said.

Hollis was standing about 50 yards from the gunman when the bullet struck her, the affidavit said.

During a hearing last month, Detective Jaime Castro testified that four bullet casings recovered at the scene matched the gun found in Oliver's waistband when he was arrested.

At that time, defense attorneys argued that Oliver should face trial on lesser charges, saying there was no premeditation and he didn’t intend to kill anyone.

But the judge said the trajectory of the bullets, one hitting the ground and another hitting high on the wall of the park pavilion building, indicated that Oliver was indiscriminately shooting into a crowd and this warranted a trial on first-degree murder.

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