Earl Ellis Green in court last month. Riverside County Superior Court Judge… (Terry Pierson/Associated…)
A judge sentenced Earl Ellis Green to death Monday for the execution-style shooting of Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jean Pfeiffer Leonard declined to overturn the jury's verdict earlier this month that Green, 46, should face capital punishment for the November 2010 slaying of the Iraq War veteran, who had been on the department for four years at the time of the killing.
Jurors convicted Green of first-degree murder with special circumstances and weeks later determined that he should receive the death penalty.
Prosecutors told the judge Monday that she should not show mercy because Green was not merciful to the defenseless officer.
Before the judge handed down the sentence, the officer's mother, Geraldine Bonaminio told the court that Green "cowardly and brutally took my son's life without cause and with hate. I will never forget and will never forgive."
The judge then called Green a fundamentally violent person whose behavior will never change and is responsible for a callous murder.
On the night of the shooting, Green, a convicted felon who was on parole, jumped out of a stolen big rig that had been involved in a hit-and-run accident and ran into Riverside's Fairmount Park.
Bonaminio, 27, chased Green into a parking lot at an adjacent church. When the officer slipped in the mud near a stairwell, Green emerged and bludgeoned the officer with a metal pipe, prosecutors told the jury.
Green then took the injured officer's .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and chambered a new round, according to the prosecution.
Stephen J. McQueen, a homeless man who volunteered at the church, told the jury he witnessed the shooting while smoking a cigarette in the parking lot. Bonaminio held his hands up and told the killer, "Don't do it. Don't do it," McQueen testified.
In his opening statement, prosecutor Michael Hestrin said Green's first two shots missed the officer. Green then walked up to Bonaminio, who was kneeling and severely injured, and fired at the back of the officer's head from a foot or so away.
"He died there, on the cold and dirty asphalt,'' Hestrin told the jury.