A Maricopa County jury convicted Donnie Delahanty today of murdering veteran Phoenix police officer David Uribe in the first degree. Delahanty faces a minimum sentence of life without parole when the jury recovenes to consider his punishment.
The 22-year-old California native also could be sentenced to death.
Delahanty stared straight ahead as the court clerk read the verdicts. The panel also found him guilty of conspiring to kill onetime co-defendant Chris Wilson (who earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder) and, inexplicably, Wilson's mother.
Uribe (seen in the photo) had patrolled the streets of Phoenix for 22 years when Delahanty fatally shot him during a routine traffic stop near the intersection of 35th Avenue and Cactus Road. The popular officer was 48.
Delahanty's father, Thomas, and a brother sat in the spectator's gallery, clenching each other's hands as the reality began to sink in.
On the other side of the courtroom, Officer Uribe's son Adam, a Phoenix police detective, hugged family, as did the late officer's widow, Kerry. The courtroom was packed, mostly with Phoenix cops who continue to mourn the loss of their colleague.
The case against Delahanty, while not perfect, was very strong, thanks in large part to a top-drawer police investigation headed by homicide detectives Jack Ballentine and Alex Femenia. Both men retired from the department after they completed work on the senseless May, 2005 murder, but both were in court this morning to hear the verdict.
If readers want to know the ins-and-outs of this tragic case, read "The Case of the Grim Tweaker," which we published back in 2006.
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