Closing arguments underway in ex-Phoenix officer's murder trial - New York News

Prosecutor: Shooting by officer not self-defense

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Richard Chrisman in court 9/4/13 Richard Chrisman in court 9/4/13
PHOENIX -

A prosecutor says the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a now-fired Phoenix police officer wasn't self-defense despite his claims that he feared for his life.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez told jurors in his closing argument at Richard Chrisman's trial Monday the officer was the aggressor in the October 2010 incident.

"He's not a reasonable officer at that time. He's ready to go, he doesn't even know where his cover is," said Martinez.

Chrisman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated assault and animal cruelty. He maintains that the shootings of 29-year-old Daniel Rodriguez and his pit bull were justified because Rodriguez reached for the officer's gun. Chrisman testified last week that he feared Rodriguez was going to "smash my brains in."

Martinez said the evidence doesn't show that Rodriguez was assaulting the officer and that Chrisman was an "amped-up" and unreasonable officer. He told jurors to look at the evidence.

Pictures of Rodriguez's gunshot wounds show he wasn't holding up his bike when he was shot, Martinez said.

"I'm asking you to return a verdict of guilty, guilty of second degree murder because there is no justification for killing Daniel Rodriguez, there just isn't."

Defense attorney Craig Mehrens said Chrisman shot in self-defense. He played the 911 call for jurors where Rodriguez's mom describes her son as violent and says she's afraid.

"After never having fired his gun in the line of duty for 9.5 years on October 5th, 2010, said this is the day I'm going to kill somebody, I'm going to use my gun for the first time in the line of duty and after I do it I'm going to get all my friends to cover it up for me, to stage a scene? That's the tale you heard for the last few hours," said Mehrens.

The defense gives their closings Monday afternoon.

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