RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A convicted felon with a history of violence was sentenced to death Monday for murdering a Riverside policeman with his own gun as the man pleaded for his life.
Earl Ellis Green, 46, said nothing as he was sentenced for the 2010 attack that killed 27-year-old Officer Ryan Bonaminio.
Superior Court Judge Jean P. Leonard rejected defense requests for a new trial and to reduce the sentence, district attorney's spokesman John Hall said.
"I never expected to bury my child," the officer's mother, Geraldine, told the court in a tear-choked voice. "The defendant cowardly and brutally took my son's life without cause and with hate. I will never forget and I will never forgive."
Judge Leonard called the killing cold, callous, brutal and particularly cruel.
"The particular actions of murder were horrific," the judge said, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/MkpZNI).
"The defendant is fundamentally a violent person," Leonard said, citing Green's criminal record. "It is clear to this court he will never change his behavior, based on his convictions."
Prosecutors said Green had stolen a big rig truck before he was pulled over by Bonaminio on the night of Nov. 7, 2010. The officer was responding to a hit-and-run accident involving a big rig and didn't know the truck was stolen, authorities said.
The dashboard camera in Bonaminio's patrol car showed Green jumping out of the cab of the rig and fleeing. Bonaminio chased him into darkened Fairmount Park, where he slipped and fell in mud.
Prosecutors said Green clubbed the officer with a metal bar from a weight set then shot him with his own handgun. At one point, Bonaminio managed to stand up and twice told Green not to do it, prosecutors said.
The patrol car camera later captured Green getting back into the truck and fleeing. A fingerprint found inside the abandoned truck later led to Green's arrest.
At trial, his defense acknowledged the killing but argued that Green wasn't in his right state of mind because of trouble with his job and family.
Attorney Gail O'Rane argued that the day before the killing, Green was ordered to move his trailer off the family property in Rubidoux after getting in a fight with his uncle, and was told he no longer could work at the family-owned repair shop.
She argued that the killing wasn't premeditated and that Green should be convicted of the lesser crime of second-degree murder.
However, a jury convicted Green in May of first-degree murder and vehicle theft with a previous conviction for vehicle theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Green has a series of felony convictions in Riverside County dating back to 1993 that included cocaine possession and car theft. He also was convicted for breaking a police officer's nose during an arrest, beating his girlfriend and punching out his girlfriend's windshield with his fists, the Press-Enterprise said.