06/11/2008

Tucson cop killer 'didn't set out to kill'

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The Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — A Tucson man facing a murder charge said in a jailhouse interview with a Tucson newspaper that he didn't set out to kill police when his wild rampage began.

David Nickolas "Nick" Delich, 25, said Monday that he made a big mistake that he should be punished for, but that he didn't commit murder of the first-degree.

Delich was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault after he allegedly led police officers and Pima County Sheriff's Office deputies on a crosstown car chase, resulting in the shooting death of Officer Erik Hite, 43, and the wounding of two deputies.

Delich is being held in the Pima County Jail on $3.5 million bond, and his lawyer said Friday that he expects him to be indicted shortly, after which he would enter a plea in court.

Delich denied ambushing Hite as Tucson police Chief Richard Miranda has said.

"I was in the car the whole time," Delich told the Tucson Citizen.

Delich said he was unaware anyone was wounded during the chase, which ended when he surrendered to deputies on the Mount Lemmon Highway.

"I think I do deserve to be punished," Delich said Monday at the Pima County Jail. "But I don't think it should be first-degree murder. I'm not going to plead guilty to that."

Tucson police declined to comment on Delich's statements and department officials didn't return a call for comment Monday night.

Delich said he remembers some things about June 1.

"I know I wasn't feeling like myself," said Delich, who described his usual demeanor as calm and relaxed, (with) no anxiety.

Tucson Police and Pima County Sheriff's Department officials maintain that Delich planned his deadly assault on law enforcement officers that day.

Delich denies it.

"I didn't particularly set out to shoot police," Delich said. "I do not have a history of violence at all. It built up that one day. I'm not a violent person," he said.

Delich maintains he was very upset that day and made some bad choices.

"I regret what I did. I shouldn't have done it."

 

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