PHOENIX — A man convicted in the 2007 shooting death of a suburban Phoenix police officer is eligible for the death penalty, a jury ruled Thursday.
Bryan Wayne Hulsey, 40, was convicted last week of first-degree murder in the death of Officer Anthony Holly, 24. Hulsey also was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder of another officer.
On Thursday, the jury found aggravating factors in the shooting, making Hulsey eligible for the death penalty.
“Now we move on to the mitigation phase in the penalty trial,” said KTAR Legal Analyst Monica Lindstrom. “This is where the defendant tries to convince the jury to give him life instead of death.”
Lindstrom said the defense can call anyone to the stand, including Hulsey himself. She expects to hear from his family and friends, at least.
Hulsey was a passenger in the vehicle that had been pulled over for speeding and not having a license plate. Holly was there to serve as backup to another officer who made the traffic stop.
Hulsey exited the vehicle, said, “I’ve got something for you,” and fired two shots, one of which hit Holly, prosecutors said.
Hulsey’s lawyers have denied he killed Holly and instead alleged that another officer who had pulled over the vehicle had panicked and unintentionally shot him.
Prosecutors say Hulsey was upset during the stop and complained that they were being pulled over for having a cracked windshield.
Authorities say Hulsey got out of the vehicle and started firing, prompting the officer who made the stop to fire back and strike Hulsey in one of his legs.
Defense attorneys said Holly was unintentionally shot by the other officer based on the fact that the bullet that killed Holly wasn’t recovered during the autopsy, though tiny metal fragments remained in his body.
The next phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 11 at 10:30 a.m.
KTAR’s Martha Maurer and the Associated Press contributed to this report.