A former Chandler police officer will use claims of selfdefense and good character in a May murder trial, according to a court document filed Tuesday.
Daniel Lovelace, 38, listed 26 character witnesses, an expert on lethal force and an expert on eyewitness testimony who could be called to testify, according to the notice of defenses, a document that defendants in criminal trials are required to file with the court.
Lovelace is charged with second-degree murder and endangerment in the Oct. 11 shooting death of 35-year-old Dawn Rae Nelson, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident.
The shooting came after Nelson drove away from Lovelace as he questioned her about a fraudulent prescription at a drugstore at Warner and Dobson roads, according to police reports.
Lovelace told investigators he believed Nelson’s car, which also carried her 14-month-old son, was coming toward him when he opened fire. The child was not hurt.
A shooting reconstruction expert hired by the state concluded that Lovelace fired his weapon from behind Nelson and two eyewitnesses told investigators they saw him run after the fleeing vehicle and then shoot.
The Chandler Police Department fired Lovelace in November.
Lovelace intends to have William Lewinski testify that the shooting was justified, according to defense attorney Craig Mehrens.
Lovelace also listed "necessity" as a possible defense at trial.
Black’s Law Dictionary defines necessity as a "choice of evils" and offers the example of a lost hiker who breaks into someone’s cabin to steal food and blankets to save his life.
Lovelace’s other possible defenses include his own good character, his truthfulness and that he’s not violent.
Lovelace’s trial is set to begin May 27.
His attorney is scheduled to argue May 2 that the state’s presentation to the grand jury that indicted Lovelace was unfair.