Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 7:52 a.m.
The first-degree murder case of accused cop killer Donald Delahanty is in the hands of a Maricopa County jury.
Superior Court Judge Warren Granville sent the 12-person panel home yesterday afternoon after opposing attorneys completed closing arguments in the death penalty trial.
The jurors were scheduled to begin deliberations this morning.
The prosecution has a strong case against Delahanty, a front-seat passenger in the late-model Monte Carlo that Officer Uribe pulled over near 35th Avenue and Cactus Road. Anything short of guilty verdicts on all counts would stun most court observers; anything short of a death penalty sentence for the onetime tweaker would be a huge moral victory for the defense team.
If Delahanty does get convicted, however, it won't be because of the oratory skills of Deputy County Attorney George Gialketsis.
The prosecutor's arguments were clear and competent, but uninspired. Surprisingly, Gialketsis did nothing to humanize the slain officer, an extremely popular, low-key kind of cop who proudly patrolled the streets of Phoenix for 22 years.
Memo to Mr. Gialketsis: Dave Uribe had a name. He was not just "the officer" or "the victim."
He was a beloved husband, father, colleague, good citizen, and our protector. He was just doing his job out there on the late morning of May 10, 2005, when he happened upon malevolent forces who stole his life for no reason at all.
Delahanty's attorney, Randall Craig, did show great passion in his summation, and expressed his sorrow at Officer Uribe's senseless death. But Craig alleged that Chris Wilson, who was driving the Monte Carlo, was the triggerman, not his client Delahanty.
As evidence, Craig repeatedly reminded jurors about the testimony of one of many passersby Robert Padilla. Padilla stood by his original statement to police that he had seen the driver, not the passenger, shoot Uribe (though his testimony was fraught with inaccuracies and contradictions).
"This is a case of certain people who did not want the finger pointed at them, so they pointed the finger at someone else [Delahanty]," Craig said. "There is more to this story than the state wants you to believe."
Craig told the jury, "I get one shot to talk to you here," which is three fewer shots -- with deadly bullets from a .380 Sig Sauer -- than Delahanty allegedly fired into Officer Uribe's face and neck from close range.
Donnie Delahanty did not testify in his own defense, choosing instead to sit between his attorneys in court day after day in a black suit, whispering to them, jotting notes, and occasionally smiling.