PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- A jury has handed down a guilty verdict to a man accused of killing a Gilbert police officer nine years ago.
On Tuesday, Christopher Redondo was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Gilbert Police Lt. Eric Shuhandler.
Shuhandler was killed in the line of duty on Jan. 28, 2010, when he was shot during a traffic stop near Val Vista Drive and Baseline Road in Gilbert.
Shuhandler was shot as he walked from his patrol car back to Redondo's truck after learning that Redondo had an arrest warrant.
Redondo's truck had been pulled over because it had a partially covered license plate.
Officers who responded to the shooting found Shuhandler gasping for breath. The 16-year police veteran was pronounced dead at a hospital
Redondo, 44, is the man detectives said pulled the trigger, but had not been convicted of the killing until now because his case did not go to trial for almost nine years.
His trial finally got underway in January 2019.
One of the accomplices in the murder, Daimen Irizarry, had already been sentenced to life in prison for driving the getaway car and leading police on a 50-mile high-speed chase after Shuhandler was shot.
But getting Redondo's case to court took longer because of questions about his competence and the fact that prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Phoenix criminal defense attorney Dwane Cates said that when it takes this long for a case to get to trial, it presents a number of challenges
"People's memories fade. You can have witnesses die. Police officers retire or get killed. People move," said Cates. "You never know if the same set of witnesses that you started with, that you'll have them at the end when a case gets this old."
The Gilbert Police Department tweeted a statement about the verdict Wednesday afternoon.
Rest In Peace Lieutenant Shuhandler. Justice has finally been served. 💙 pic.twitter.com/UEsPMS032M— Gilbert Police Dept. (@GilbertPolice) April 18, 2019