Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against John Paul Perry, the man accused of intentionally crashing into police officer David Ortiz, Defense Attorney Joe Spencer told ABC-7.
The 45-year-old Perry, believed to be a Barrio Azteca gang member, is charged with Capital Murder and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, the same vehicle he allegedly drove into Officer Ortiz's motorcycle in East El Paso, killing him. Perry has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
ABC-7 has reached out to the district attorney's office to learn more about its decision.
The deadly collision happened March 10, 2016 at the intersection of Lee Trevino and Vista del Sol. Officer Ortiz, riding his motorcycle, stopped at a red light when Perry allegedly rear-ended him. Ortiz died days after the crash.
Court documents obtained by ABC-7 soon after Perry's arrest state Perry allegedly boasted about the officer's death.
Police in Merkel, Texas arrested Perry more than a week after the crash after a witness told investigators Perry allegedly said, "The cop was lucky (I) did not have a truck or the officer would have been beef jerky and they would have been picking him off the streets."
Perry allegedly went on to tell that witness and a second person, "(Expletive) that cop. I don't give a (expletive) about that cop."
When Spencer was appointed as Perry's defense attorney earlier this year, he told ABC-7, "I'm very confident, after visiting with him, that Mr. Perry did not intentionally mean to cause any harm to anyone."
Perry's sister, Glenda Gallegos, spoke only to ABC-7 in the aftermath of Officer Ortiz's death. Gallegos said her brother told her it was an accident. "They're making him look like a monster and he's not a monster," Gallegos said, "He's a human being and he made a mistake."
Gallegos said Perry told her he fell asleep at the wheel when he rear-ended the officer.