Man charged with murder in Phoenix officer's death - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Man charged with murder in Phoenix officer's death

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Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2010 2:57 pm

A Tucson man arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a Phoenix police officer was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and weapons charges, the top prosecutor in Maricopa County said.

Danny Ledezma Martinez, 30, was also charged with burglary and fleeing from a police vehicle, said Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley.

A team of top prosecutors will review whether the circumstances surrounding the slaying of Officer Travis Murphy early Wednesday merit Romley to consider seeking the death penalty.

Murphy and his partner, Officer Jillian Mahlmeister, were first on the scene of a 1:30 a.m. call in which neighbors reported someone hit a parked car and was trying to hide a Ford Mustang in a vacant home's carport. The officers got out of their patrol vehicle and split up in search of a suspect.

Moments later, Murphy was hit with multiple rounds apparently fired from an AR-15-type assault rifle, according to a court document filed Thursday. Mahlmeister found her partner with wounds to the waist and legs and another officer drove him to a nearby hospital, where he died in surgery.

A police tactical team found Martinez hiding in a backyard shed several houses away from the shooting scene less than two hours later. He was naked and resisted officers but was taken into custody after being struck by rubber bullets and bitten by a police dog.

A rifle was found hidden in another nearby home's shed, and tests showed it was the rifle used in the assault on the officer, Police Chief Jack Harris said Thursday.

Investigators found 11 spent .223-caliber rifle casings at the scene of the shooting, as well as two spent rounds that Murphy apparently fired from his handgun, the court document said.

The crashed Ford Mustang found at the shooting scene was registered to the Tucson address listed on Martinez' driver's license, according to the document.

Martinez made an initial court appearance late Wednesday and was ordered held without bail. A public defender likely will be assigned to represent him.

Martinez served more than three years in an Arizona prison on felony weapons misconduct charges in the Tucson area before being released in April 2009, Department of Corrections records show. He also was cited in the Tucson area numerous times, and pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges in October 2009 and theft in November 2003.

The county attorney's office said Thursday that Martinez also had convictions for sexual assault, kidnapping and burglary. A Department of Corrections official could not be immediately reached Thursday to provide a more detailed criminal history.

Harris said earlier that Martinez was a repeat violent offender, and Romley commented on that on Thursday.

"Unfortunately, our society, America's, Arizona's, there are those who have a life of crime," Romley said. "For some reason they don't learn their lesson when they go to the Department of Corrections."

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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