Ex-Phoenix officer pleads guilty to manslaughter - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Ex-Phoenix officer pleads guilty to manslaughter

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Richard Chrisman (file) Richard Chrisman (file)
PHOENIX -

A former Phoenix Police officer has pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges.

Richard Chrisman was arrested three years ago, accused of shooting and killing an unarmed man during a domestic violence call.

Daniel Rodriguez is the alleged victim in this case.

On Wednesday, Chrisman pleaded guilty to manslaughter or recklessly causing Rodriguez's death.

Chrisman looked like he was in good spirits, even smiling at his family before the hearing, but during the hearing, his demeanor changed.

Back in September, a jury found Chrisman guilty of aggravated assault, but couldn't reach a verdict on a 2nd degree murder charge.  Both sides came to an agreement -- pleading guilty to manslaughter.  It's a lesser charge, still Chrisman seemed to struggle with pleading guilty.

"He recklessly caused the death of Daniel Rodriguez... Mr. Chrisman, did you hear Mr. Martinez tell me what he thought happened back in 2010?" asked the prosecutor.

"Yes, sir," replied Chrisman.

"Did he get the facts right?"

"Yes, sir."

"You can make any correction you want to."

"Don't have any."

Chrisman barely looked at his family when he walked out of court.  Some of his family left crying.  As part of the plea, the animal cruelty charge against him was dismissed.

"I don't think that Rich.. in his heart, necessarily agrees with what he had to say up there, but let's face it, we're three years into this from when it started and the justice system has a way of wearing and grinding on people.  It'll wear you down enough.. I'm sure he's exhausted, his family is exhausted and you get a point where you just want to put things behind you and move on," said Ken Crane of the Phoenix Police Union.

Chrisman's manslaughter sentence will run at the same time as his aggravated assault sentence.  That means he won't spend any more time in prison for pleading guilty.  He'll be sentenced for both next week and faces up to 15 years in prison.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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