3TV chopper video, audio used in court during Tarver arson case

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PHOENIX – Pictures and sound taken from 3TV’s NewsChopper became part of the arson case that claimed the life of Phoenix firefighter Brett Tarver nine years ago.

The dramatic video and sounds recorded by then 3TV pilot Bruce Haffner over Southwest Market at 35th Avenue and McDowell Road were used in court Tuesday in an attempt to help jurors reach a verdict.

Christopher Benitez, 27, is accused of setting the fire at the market in 2001 in which firefighter Brett Tarver lost his life.

Fire investigator Detective Willie Nelson pointed out key parts of the battle against the fire as they were caught on tape.

Benitez was 15 at the time of the fire and had been caught stealing beer at the market a few days earlier.

What effect the 3TV video and audio has on the jury's decision is unknown.

Some of the calls for emergency help that were captured on 3TV’s video came from Tarver.

The trial to determine if Benitez was behind that blaze continues.