Ex-cop's lawyers want conviction tossed, new trial

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
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PHOENIX -- Lawyers for a former Phoenix police officer convicted of aggravated assault in the shooting death of a man and his dog want the judge to throw out the jury's conviction and order a new trial.

Richard Chrisman was charged with aggravated assault, second-degree murder and animal cruelty after he fatally shot Danny Rodriguez, 28, and the man's pit bull, Junior, during an October 2010 domestic violence call.

In September jury convicted him on the assault charge after four days of deliberation, but they were not able to reach a verdict on the murder and animal cruelty charges.

Prosecutors had already said they planned to retry Chrisman on those charges.

Now the defense is demanding a new trial, saying prosecutor Juan Martinez engaged in misconduct. Chrisman's lawyers are also question the competency of the victim's mother, who testified at the trial.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville was slated to hear arguments on the issue Wednesday, but there was no immediate decision.

At this point, motions will be heard on Dec. 11, sentencing on the aggravated assault conviction will take place on Dec. 20, and a retrial has been scheduled for Jan. 27, 2014.

If his current conviction stands, Chrisman faces five to 15 years in prison.