Richard Chrisman Trial Begins, Youth Minister Found Guilty of Molestation, and More
Welcome to Courthouse Update, a weekly rundown of goings-on at the Maricopa County Superior Court.
This week, an ex-Phoenix cop accused of murder goes to trial, jury selection starts in re-trial of Buddhist temple massacre suspect, a youth minister is found guilty of molestation, and more:
- The Richard Chrisman trial has begun
The murder trial against former Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman officially started on Wednesday. Chrisman is charged in the 2010 death of Phoenix resident Daniel Rodriguez. Chrisman responded to a 911 call from Rodriguez's mother, who asked that police remove her son from the trailer where they lived together. Another officer told investigators that Chrisman ended up shooting Rodriguez and his dog -- killing them both -- for no apparent reason. Deputy County Attorney Juan Martinez, of Jodi Arias fame, is the prosecutor.
- Youth minister Jasmine Brown pleaded guilty to molestation charges
Jasmine Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. The former youth minister at the Family of God Christian Fellowship in Apache Junction told police in late 2011 the 12-year-old male victim initiated the sexual contact at a church camp. Sentencing is set for September 17 before Judge Rosa Mroz.
- Jury selection started in new trial for Jonathan Doody
Jonathan Doody was convicted of murdering nine people at a West Valley Buddhist temple more than 20 years ago. Doody, who's been imprisoned since early 1994 for the crimes, is now getting a second trial, and the jury selection has started for that trial. (The jury selection is expected to last at least another week.) An appeals court overturned Doody's conviction several years ago, claiming that his confession was coerced. Doody's alleged accomplice, Allessandro Garcia, is still serving a life sentence.
- Adrian Ponce pleaded not guilty
Ponce currently faces several child-abuse charges, related to the death of his girlfriend's 8-month-old daughter. According to police, 8-month-old Sabrina had been in Ponce's care when she died. Ponce is not her biological father. He admitted to burning her with the open flame of a cigarette lighter, according to court documents, then allegedly shook her when she wouldn't sleep that night -- likely due to the burns. Sabrina died not long after the shaking, police say.
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