INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to fatally shooting an Indianapolis police officer was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday following emotional testimony from the officer’s widow and mother.
A Marion County courtroom was filled with police officers and Officer Perry Renn’s relatives as a judge sentenced Major Davis II for Renn’s July 2014 killing. Davis, 27, pleaded guilty last week to murder, sparing himself the death penalty.
Renn, 51, and another officer were responding to reports of gunfire when they came across Davis in an alley and exchanged shots with him. Investigators said Davis had fired shots during a backyard Fourth of July weekend cookout his relatives were hosting.
Prosecutors said Davis struck Renn with three rounds from an assault rifle. Davis was critically injured.
During Thursday’s hearing, Renn’s widow said Davis would “soon be forgotten” and praised her husband, a 22-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“Perry’s heroic actions stopped a murderer, but at too high a price,” Lynn Renn told the court.
The officer’s mother, Phyllis Renn, called her son “a very good man with a servant’s heart.”
“He would have died protecting your family, and did,” she testified, speaking directly to Davis.
Indianapolis police Chief Bryan Roach spoke to officers outside the courtroom following the hearing.
“These are hard times,” he told them, choking up. “Please be safe.”
Davis’ case had been repeatedly delayed by his attempts to fire his attorneys and by questions about his mental competency. A judge ruled in February that Davis was mentally competent to stand trial, which was scheduled to start in October.
Davis’ attorney, Ray Casanova, told the court Thursday that Davis takes daily anti-psychotic medication.
His father, Major Davis Sr., died in police custody at age 35 in May 2003. The elder Davis had been arrested for public intoxication and struggled with officers. An autopsy concluded he died of a heart attack.
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