Jury selection begins in trial of suspected Riverside cop killer

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Steven Cuevas/KPCC

Joseph Bonaminio (left), the father of slain Riverside policeman Ryan Bonaminio, and Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco announce the charges against suspected killer Earl Ellis Green.

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of suspected cop killer Earl Ellis Green. He’s accused of gunning down a Riverside police officer two years ago. That charge carries special circumstance allegations that could send Green to death row.

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

A groundskeeper allegedly saw Bonaminio chase Green into a park. The man testified in a preliminary hearing that Green struck Bonaminio with a blunt object, then shot him three times with the officer’s own semiautomatic pistol.

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

Prosecutors have said that they plan on seeking the death penalty. Meanwhile, Green has pleaded not guilty.

The court expects to interview about 300 prospective jurors in the next few weeks. The judge says attorneys will question people in smaller groups than usual to allow more thorough screening.

The trial in Riverside could last about two months.

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