Richard Chrisman Guilty of Aggravated Assault, but Jury Can't Decide on Murder

A jury found former Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman guilty of aggravated assault, but the jurors couldn't decide on two other charges, including second-degree murder.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says he has not ruled out a retrial on charges of murdering Phoenix resident Daniel Rodriguez in 2010, and killing his dog in the process.

See also:
-Richard Chrisman, Killer Phoenix Cop, Canned
-Richard Chrisman Report Released by Phoenix Police Department

Back in October 2010, 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.

Officer Sergio Virgillo, who also responded to the trailer -- and was the prosecution's key witness -- said Chrisman and Rodriguez started arguing over whether Chrisman had a right to force entry into his trailer, and Chrisman put his service weapon to Rodriguez's head.

The two officers then tried to detain Rodriguez, but they weren't able to, and Chrisman pepper-sprayed Rodriguez's eyes. Chrisman then tried to use a Taser on Rodriguez, but that was unsuccessful, and Rodriguez tried to grab his bicycle and pedal away from the trailer.

As Rodriguez attempted to leave, his dog barked from across the room, and Chrisman just shot the dog, Virgillo said.

Rodriguez started to argue about why Chrisman shot his dog.

"Officer Virgillo stated this verbal arguing continued for about five seconds and then 'I saw Officer Chrisman take out his service weapon and I and -- and he shot Daniel,'" the police report states.

At the time, Virgillo said he remembered that Rodriguez didn't have anything in his hands when he was shot, but "took a step back and put up his hands," the report states.

Virgillo said he never saw any reason for Chrisman to use deadly force, and neither did prosecutors -- he's been charged with second-degree murder.

This wasn't the first instance of Chrisman being a scummy cop -- he was caught on video planting a crack pipe on a mentally ill woman.

Chrisman was fired from the department a few months after the shooting.

County Attorney Montgomery says in a statement that his office will "assess the case and determine the most appropriate course of action."

A jury did find aggravating factors in Chrisman's aggravated-assault charge, so even that charge alone could land him in prison.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley