Man convicted of killing Gilbert police officer in 2010 sentenced to life in prison

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The man who was convicted of killing a Gilbert police officer nine years ago has been sentenced to life in prison.

A jury decided on the punishment Tuesday for the first-degree murder charge against Christopher Redondo.

Redondo shot and killed Gilbert Police Lt. Eric Shuhandler during a traffic stop near Val Vista Drive and Baseline Road on Jan. 28, 2010.

One of the accomplices in the murder, Daimen Irizarry, had already been sentenced to life in prison for driving the getaway car and leading police on a 50-mile high-speed chase after Shuhandler was shot.

But getting Redondo’s case to court took longer because of questions about his competence and the fact that prosecutors were seeking the death penalty.

His trial started in January of 2019 and he was found guilty of first-degree murder on April 17.

But one juror isn’t happy with this outcome.

“Justice wasn’t served for Eric Shuhandle,” Lisa Lerma cried.

She’s been a juror on the case since it began in January, and said the room was heated trying to come to a decision that she does not agree with.

“There was 6 for the death penalty, 3 undecided, and 3 lifes…and we ended up with life and I don’t know how we got there,” she said.

“What do you have to say to the lieutenant’s family today? Asked reporter Briana Whitney.

“I’m so sorry that we weren’t able to get there,” she cried.

But Valley attorney Russ Richelsoph said he’s not shocked.

“Death penalty verdicts from juries are actually getting more rare,” he said.

Richelsoph said that’s largely due to more criticism of the criminal justice system. He said people are more hesitant to call for the death penalty because it’s something that can’t be undone, should any new evidence be presented.

But he also said this trial took a long time for a reason.

“In these kind of cases, no expenses are spared by either side,” he said. “The prosecution usually presents everything they can in this kind of case.”

His attorneys will likely appeal.

Sentencing on the remaining counts against Redondo will be next week.

The Gilbert police chief tweeted out his reaction.

“This decision brings closure to our community after nine years of waiting for justice to be served for Lt. Eric Shuhandler. The Gilbert Police Department appreciates the continued support from our community. Lt. Shuhandler will be missed, but he will never be forgotten,” said Chief Michael Soelberg.

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