A murder case that State Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) said spotlighted a major flaw in the California’s legal system ended today.
On Monday in Riverside Superior Court, Judge Jean Pfeiffer Leonard handed Earl Ellis Green, 46, the death penalty for the Nov. 7, 2010, first-degree murder of Riverside police officer Ryan Bonaminio.
According to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, on the night of Nov. 7, 2010, Officer Bonaminio pulled over a big-rig tractor that was involved in a hit-and-run traffic collision on Highway 60. The officer stopped the truck on Market Street in Riverside and the driver, later identified as Green, fled into nearby Fairmount Park.
A foot chase ensued, and Officer Bonaminio was ambushed by Green, according to the DA’s office.
“Green attacked Officer Bonaminio then shot and killed him with the officer’s own handgun, which was then was taken by Green. During the subsequent murder investigation, a fingerprint was located inside the stolen big-rig. That fingerprint belongs to Green, who was on parole,” the DA’s office reported.
Further investigation led law enforcement officers to Green and he was arrested on Nov. 9, 2010, in the parking lot of a Target store on Arlington Avenue in Riverside. Green was a convicted felon and among his prior crimes was battery of a peace officer.
After Green’s arrest, Jeffries argued that battery of a police officer should be a “strikeable” felony offense. If it were, Jeffries said, the killer would not have been free to murder Officer Bonaminio.
“Our officers place themselves at risk in order to ensure the safety of our communities. It is our responsibility to do what is in our power to protect them and hold those who commit crimes against them responsible for their actions,” Jeffries said during an April 10 hearing in Sacramento where he pushed for passage of AB 60, which would have made battery of a peace officer a strikeable offense.
After the committee's decision, Jeffries issued this statement:
"When we neglect to protect our peace officers it is our communities that suffer the greatest loss. We lose dedicated public servants like Officer Ryan Bonaminio whose deaths could have been prevented. I am disappointed that the committee did not take the step to learn from this loss and protect our officers who continue to serve and protect our community.”