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Jury recommends death penalty for convicted cop killer Earl Ellis Green

June 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Riverside jury has recommended the death penalty for convicted cop killer Earl Ellis Green.

During the hearing, Green could actually be seen smiling, even though a jury had just decided he should be put to death for the murder of Officer Ryan Bonaminio. District Attorney Paul Zellerbach says this was justice for the community.

"This is a perfect example of why we should have a death penalty in the state of California," Zellerbach said.

A jury found Green, 46, guilty on May 11 of shooting Bonaminio after a traffic stop in 2010. Prosecutors say Green ambushed the officer, beat him with a steel pipe, took his service weapon and then shot him in the head.

For the fallen officer's family, the victory is bittersweet.

"Earl Green does not deserve to be on death row. He deserves to have his skull cracked just how my brother's was, and he also deserves to be executed just like he did my brother in an empty parking lot, just like he left Ryan," said the victim's sister, Nicole Bonaminio.

The Bonaminio family wonders when - or if - they will ever see Green be put to death.

"Putting this guy up on death row right now is not sending a message to anybody, they're not going to pay attention," said father Joe Bonaminio. "Big deal, he's on death row, he's going to get three squares a day."

In a rare move, Green refused to waive his time before sentencing. The sentencing is set for June 25.

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