Defense lawyer for ex-Phoenix officer charged with murder attacks key witness, his partner

Jurors have started deliberating the fate of a former Phoenix police officer charged with fatally shooting an unarmed suspect and his dog.

The jury received the case Tuesday afternoon after the defense attorney for now-fired officer Richard Chrisman told them his partner made up a story that led to the charges.

Attorney Craig Mehrens told jurors that officer Sergio Virgillo's testimony was designed to protect him from allegations he left his partner alone in a dangerous situation because he was himself scared.

Chrisman faces second-degree murder, aggravated assault and animal cruelty charges in the October 2010 shootings of 29-year-old Danny Rodriguez and his dog.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez told jurors that Rodriguez wasn't a threat and that Chrisman was an out-of-control officer with no justification for the shooting.