Woman involved in officer's murder sentenced to 22 years in prison

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PHOENIX -- The woman who played a part in the murder of a Phoenix police officer nearly three years ago was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison.

In February, Norma Lisa Lopez pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder in the July 2007 death of Officer George Cortez Jr.

Cortez and another officer were called out to a check-cashing store near 83rd Avenue and Osborn Road when an employee suspected a $430 check Lopez and her boyfriend, Edward James Rose, were trying to cash was forged.

While Cortez was trying to arrest Rose, he managed to pull a gun and fire, hitting the officer twice. Cortez later died at the hospital. He was 23.

Lopez had reportedly distracted Cortez, which allowed Rose to shoot and kill him.

Rose and Lopez, who were 20 and 19 at the time, fled the scene. They were arrested the next morning.

When Lopez entered her plea back in February, she admitted being at the scene of the shooting and knowing that Rose was armed.

A variety of other charges, including assault on a police officer, forgery and drug possession, were dismissed.

Per the plea agreement, Lopez could have been sentenced to between 16 and 22 years in prison.