RIVERSIDE (CBS) — Trial began in Riverside Superior Court for a man accused of murdering Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio with his own duty weapon.
Earl Ellis Green’s attorney immediately took the drama out of the case with her opening statement to the jury, when she said that her client murdered Bonaminio.
In an effort to spare Green a first-degree murder conviction and potential death penalty, she pushed for a second-degree murder conviction.
Bonaminio was killed the night of November 7, 2010 in a church parking lot adjacent to Fairmount Park in Riverside.
On Monday the prosecutor in the case showed the jury a dash cam video taken from Bonaminio’s cruiser, which depicted Green climbing into his truck and driving off. The prosecutor said it was immediately after Green had killed Bonaminio.
He told the jury that Bonaminio had slipped on some mud and while down Green beat him with a heavy metal pipe. The prosecutor said that Green then grabbed the officer’s handgun and fatally shot him at point-blank range.
“The officer, very audibly, shouted, ‘Don’t do it! Don’t do it!”‘ recalled Stephen James McQueen, the only eyewitness to the killing.
Green, who has a rap sheet spanning more than two decades, was identified through a fingerprint match, leading to his arrest outside a Target store in Riverside two days later.
Search warrants served at his Rubidoux residence at 5161 34th St. and another property led to the recovery of Bonaminio’s gun, according to prosecutors.
Bonaminio’s family and friends were present for the opening statements, but they made it clear that they were not going to make any statements of their own at the time.