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Parolee who killed Riverside police officer faces sentencing

June 25, 2012 |  7:55 am

Earl Ellis GreenA parolee convicted of brutally slaying a Riverside police officer in 2010 is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Riverside County Superior Court and could face the death penalty.

Earl Ellis Green, 46, faces possible capital punishment for the murder of Officer Ryan Bonaminio, an Iraq War veteran who had been on the force for four years.

Judge Jean Pfeiffer Leonard will preside over Monday's sentencing, the Riverside County District Attorney’s office said.

A jury found Green guilty in May of first-degree murder with special circumstances and weeks later determined he should receive the death penalty.

On the night of the shooting in November 2010, Green, a convicted felon then 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, severely injured and on his knees, 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.


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--Phil Willon and Matt Stevens

Photo: Earl Ellis Green. Credit: Riverside Police Department.