Phoenix ex-police officer who killed a man and his dog trial begins this week

August 5, 2013

A Phoenix ex-police officer that killed a man and his dog is set to begin this week.

Jury selection began August 5 in the case where an ex-Phoenix police officer has been charged with murder and animal cruelty, FoxNews reported.

Opening statements are set for Wednesday, August 7.

The incident occurred on October 5, 2010, when Phoenix police officers Richard Chrisman and Sergio Virgillo responded separately to a call near Center and Baseline after a domestic dispute call came in. It ended in the death of 29-year-old Daniel Rodriguez.

Daniel’s dog was shot and killed by Officer Chrisman for allegedly barking, although Virgillo told investigators later that the dog hadn’t barked.

Minutes later Daniel would also be shot and killed by Officer Chrisman.

Police was called to the home by Daniel’s mother, who told them Daniel had damaged property in the home after the two of them got into an argument. Mother and son lived together in the home.

The trouble began when Daniel questioned the police officers right to enter the home. Chrisman is said to have put the gun muzzle on Daniel’s temple and telling the home owner he didn’t need a warrant to be there.

Chrisman is denying that he put his gun to Daniel, and Chrisman’s partner said Daniel made no threat against either officer.

Police say Chrisman returned his gun to his holster, and a struggle began when he tried to grab Daniel. This resulted with a stun gun being used on the victim.

It was determined during an investigation that pepper spray was also used on the victim, after which Chrisman withdrew his weapon once again, shooting the family dog.

Chrisman and Daniel scuffled again when Daniel said he wanted to get on his bike and leave the scene. Chrisman then allegedly withdrew his gun, shooting Daniel in the chest from only a few feet away. Daniel was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chrisman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and animal cruelty charges. He was a nine-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department and was fired five months after Daniel was killed.

This case boils down to one officer refusing to allow another officer to get away with murder. Officer Virgillo told investigators that Chrisman shot and killed an unarmed man who was not making any threats that would have allowed deadly force.

Chrisman’s attorney is saying all options for controlling Daniel had been exhausted, and that Virgillo abandoned his partner by walking out of the trailer.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who is prosecuting, hasn’t said whether any other information is available to back up Chrisman killing Daniel.

This remains to be seen when the case goes to trial. The defense attorneys complained earlier than an account of the shooting didn’t contain any information to their client in court records.

Craig Mehrens, who is representing Chrisman stated in an interview with Fox

“We look forward to having the trial start and having a chance to tell our side of the story.”

Perhaps this case will see justice served. Officer Virgillo is a courageous man, to speak up against another officer who has allegedly broken the law. Police departments everywhere need more officers like him.



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