Crime & Justice

Alleged killer of Riverside cop Bonaminio faces trial in April

Police caution tape
Police caution tape
Photograh by Perfect Pose via Flickr Creative Commons

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A career criminal suspected of gunning down a Riverside cop in 2010 will face trial in April. Earl Ellis Green pleaded not guilty to first degree murder, but special circumstance allegations that come with his charge could send Green straight to death row.

Green is charged with killing 27-year-old policeman Ryan Bonaminio after he allegedly fled the scene of a hit-and-run crash in a stolen truck.

The sole eyewitness, a groundskeeper, says he saw Bonaminio chase Green into a park near the 60 Freeway. The witness told investigators that Green struck Bonaminio with a blunt object, then shot him three times with the officer’s .40 caliber pistol.

Fingerprints from the scene matched Green’s, and officers arrested him just two days after the killing.

Investigators later found Bonaminio’s weapon during a search of Green’s home.

The suspect faces special circumstance allegations of killing a police officer and committing murder to avoid arrest, meaning prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

Green’s attorney says his client won’t get a fair trial in Riverside because of intense publicity about the case. To help ensure an unbiased panel, the judge has pledged a thorough questioning process for prospective jurors.