Criminal & Civil Justice News

The Murder trial of ex-Phoenix officer Richard Chrisman begins


Richard Chrisman Photo / AP - Phoenix Police DepartmentPHOENIX (AP) — Jury selection began Monday for a former Phoenix police officer charged with murder and animal cruelty in the fatal shootings of an unarmed man and his dog during a domestic dispute call.

Authorities say then-Officer Richard Chrisman broke the law in his response to the 2010 call that ended with the death of 29-year-old Daniel Rodriguez at the south Phoenix trailer that Rodriguez shared with his mother. Chrisman disputes that he acted improperly, saying the shooting was justified because Rodriguez had reached for the officer’s gun during a tussle that preceded the shooting.

Attorneys are expected to make opening arguments Wednesday.

Rodriguez’s mother had called police from a neighbor’s trailer because she said her son had damaged property inside their trailer after the two had gotten into an argument on Oct. 5, 2010.

Investigators say that when Rodriguez questioned the officers’ right to be inside the trailer, Chrisman drew his pistol, put its muzzle on Rodriguez’s temple and said he didn’t need a warrant to be there. Chrisman’s partner told investigators that there was no threat being made against either officer. Chrisman denies that he put his gun to Rodriguez’s temple.

Authorities say Chrisman put his gun back in its holster and tried to grab Rodriguez, leading to a struggle in which both officers tried unsuccessfully to restrain Rodriguez and used their stun guns on Rodriguez, who at one point removed the Taser probes that were on his chest.

Investigators also say Chrisman shot pepper spray into Rodriguez’s eyes and drew his pistol a second time and shot Rodriguez’s barking dog. Chrisman’s partner told investigators that the dog wasn’t attacking either officer.

Another scuffle between Chrisman and Rodriguez began when Rodriguez said he wanted to leave on his bicycle. At some point, Chrisman drew his pistol again and shot Rodriguez in the chest from about two to three feet away. Rodriguez fell to the ground and was later pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

The case, to a large degree, boils down to conflicting accounts from Chrisman and his partner, Officer Sergio Virgillo — the only two people, besides Rodriguez, inside the trailer to witness the escalating confrontation.

Virgillo told investigators that he never saw a weapon in Rodriguez’s hands and that there was no threat that required deadly force. Chrisman’s attorney has said Virgillo had exhausted all options for controlling Rodriguez before he fired the shots and that Virgillo abandoned Chrisman and walked out of the trailer.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, whose office is prosecuting the case, declined to say whether there was other evidence beyond the two officers’ accounts to back up their contention that Chrisman committed a crime.

Chrisman had pleaded not guilty to second degree murder, aggravated assault and animal cruelty charges. The nine-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department was fired about five months after Rodriguez’s death.

Defense attorneys had complained earlier in the case that an account of the shooting that was filed into court records didn’t contain any information to their client.

“We look forward to having the trial start and having a chance to tell our side of the story,” said Chrisman’s attorney, Craig Mehrens.

JACQUES BILLEAUD

Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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kitty says:

Hey WAT when is the christman trial coming on

   
Dr. William Roddy says:

I think it is beyond absurd that the Richard Chrisman trial is not televised. So much TV media is devoted to the mundane. This is a very rare type of murder trial, and if justice can be brought forth, there is no one even close to belonging in the same league as Juan Martinez. Have others noticed that this so designated elite defense attorney, Craig Mehrens looks like a pre law student compared to Juan Martinez?

   
julie says:

Why isnt wild showing this trial? why do they care about Sneiderman?

   
Steph says:

They should be able to stream both. I’ve gone back and forth between viewing two trials on this site. Hmmm….

   
lee fairfax says:

I grew up with the policeman being my friend but something happened to the men in blue since the 2950′s and they are now the worst bullies and the most dangerous people in the neighborhood. One just tazored and beat a 72 year old society matron in the next town because she didn’t move her car out of a no parking spot. It was, of course, , ruled porper treatment. Cops now scare the hell out of me.

   
Paul says:

Will you please, remove the Sneiderman case and show the Chrisman case instead!

   
John Swisher says:

please stream Chrisman trial live if possible.

   
Boom says:

Can’t wait to watch this trial!!!

   
Jamie says:

Please stream the Chrisman case! We need more Juan!!

   
kitty says:

Yes I’m trying to find it as well

   
rayon says:

Yes! Please give us the stream of the Chrisman trial if possible.

   
sharon maas says:

Can someone Please get them to show the live feed of the chrisman trial…I can’t take another minute of the Sneiderman case…

   
Dr. William Roddy says:

I, Dr. William Roddy in 54 years, I have known the supposed best in their fields. Dr. Denton Cooley, the world renowned pioneer of heart surgery in Houston, Texas, Mike Bridges, the holder of 50 plus world titles in 5 different weight classes in powerlifting, John McEnroe, Stellan Bengtsson, the teenager from Sweden who was the youngest Men’s Singles World Champion ever. I have observed in great detail, the best quarterback ever, Joe Montana, Michael Jordan.

None of the above mentioned greats even combined cannot be mentioned in the same breath as Prosecutor, Juan Martinez. I have observed his every cross examination and opening and closing arguments. I am not biased but he possesses talents and other worldly memory and presentation legal skills that have never been witnessed before and will not be seen again. It is impossible for the public to comprehend the consummate brilliance of Prosecutor Juan Martinez. I have been a physician for decades and I practice Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Pain Management, and Anti-Aging medicine. I am regarded as a skilled and thorough multi specialist in medicine. However, I do not possess even a tiny fraction of the skill and surely not the brilliance of Juan Martinez. His cross examinations are of the luminous and awesomeness of the mysterium tremendum!

Dr. William Roddy

   

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