Bryan Hulsey sentenced to death in murder of police officer

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Jurors decided on a death sentence Thursday for a man convicted of first-degree murder in the 2007 shooting of a Glendale police officer.

The jury reported its sentencing decision on the fourth day of deliberations in the penalty phase of Bryan Wayne Hulsey's trial in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Hulsey, who was dressed in pants, a white check shirt and a bright red tie, started applauding after the sentencing was read.

"Well done, well done," Hulsey said before Judge Joseph Kreamer hushed him.

He also was sentenced to an additional nine years in prison for attempted first-degree murder. Kreamer ordered that sentence be served consecutively.

As in all capital punishment cases, the death penalty will be automatically appealed.

Hulsey, 40, was convicted last month in the killing of Anthony Holly, 24. Hulsey was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over for speeding and not having a license plate. Holly was serving as backup to another officer who made the stop.

Prosecutors alleged Hulsey got out and fired two shots, one of which hit Holly. Defense attorneys said Holly was unintentionally shot by the other officer based on the fact that the bullet that killed Holly wasn't recovered during the autopsy, though tiny metal fragments remained in his body.

Members of Hulsey's family wept after the decision was announced. B.J. Hulsey, the defendant's brother, said the jury ignored the evidence. "We all feel terrible for what happened, but it was a decision based on emotion," B.J. Hulsey said.

Hulsey's father, Rondyl Hulsey, called the sentencing a "travesty of justice."

"My son's a grown-up. He's had a chip on his shoulder. He's had a lot of problems. But he's been a good kid all his life," Rondyl Hulsey said. "He hasn't given up on us, and we can't give up on him."

Glendale Police Chief Debora Black said the department was pleased with the verdict and that the jury made a decision based on facts. "This brings the only justice we have available to us in the death of Officer Holly," Black said.

Nancy Bonner, Holly's mother, said the sentencing did not bring the family any happiness - only relief.

"We feel a sense of relief certainly that Tony's killer will never see the light of day," Bonner said. "We continue to miss Tony with every breath."

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