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Crime & Justice

Earl Ellis Green, convicted killer of Riverside cop Ryan Bonaminio, sentenced to death

File: Earl Ellis Green was convicted in the murder of Riverside police officer Ryan Bonaminio
File: Earl Ellis Green was convicted in the murder of Riverside police officer Ryan Bonaminio
Steven Cuevas/KPCC

A judge in Riverside Monday sentenced convicted cop killer Earl Ellis Green to death. A jury last month convicted Green, 46, of the 2010 murder of Riverside police officer Ryan Bonaminio, who was 27 years old.

Judge Jean Leonard called the murder cold, callous and brutal. Earl Green, she said, is a fundamentally violent person. Green is a career criminal with prior convictions for assaulting a police officer and car theft.

Green killed officer Bonaminio at the end of a foot chase following a botched attempt to steal a diesel truck; Green had been pulled over by Bonaminio, who was investigating a report of a hit-and-run accident involving a big rig. The start of the foot chase was recorded by the officer's dashboard camera.

Bonaminio apparently slipped and fell. A witness testified that, after that happened, he saw Green club Bonaminio with a steel bar, then shoot him with the officer’s own revolver.

Riverside County deputy prosecutor John Aki said the evidence against Green was overwhelming. “The case that was presented to us was probably one of the best cases I’ve ever seen. There was no doubt in our mind exactly what happened, who did it and what the outcome would be.”

Defense attorneys argued that Green’s emotional and psychological problems clouded Green's judgment.

Green was convicted of first-degree murder. The defense had asked for a second-degree murder conviction.

The court denied a request to reduce Green’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It also denied a request for a new trial.