The Associated Press
DENVER- An illegal immigrant from Mexico who fled to his home country after killing a police officer and wounding another was convicted Friday of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.
Raul Gomez-Garcia, 21, was convicted in the May 2005 death of Detective Donald Young and the shooting of Detective John Bishop. Both officers were working off-duty as security for a party.
Gomez-Garcia faces a sentence of up to 80 years, Police Chief Gerry Whitman said.
Gomez-Garcia testified that he didn't intend to kill the officers. He said he fired after Young grabbed him by the neck and arm to stop him from re-entering an invitation-only baptismal party.
Prosecutors said Gomez-Garcia ambushed and blindsided the officers. Bishop was wearing a bulletproof vest, but Young was not.
Gomez-Garcia was arrested in Mexico about a month after the slaying.
Mexico does not return suspects to the United States if they face the death penalty, but prosecutors agreed to not file a first-degree murder charge that could have led to a death sentence.
Young's widow, Kelly, said the healing could now begin.
"It's been very difficult to just start the healing process with all of this hanging over our head," she said.
Bishop said he was pleased Gomez-Garcia faces a lengthy sentence. He said, "That's all that matters to me."
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