Death sentence affirmed for man convicted of killing Tucson officer
John Montenegro Cruz fatally shot Patrick Hardesty
PHOENIX (AP) - A unanimous Arizona Supreme Court ruling Friday upholds a trial judge’s decision that a death row inmate convicted of killing a Tucson police officer in 2003 isn’t entitled to a resentencing.
John Montenegro Cruz was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2003 shooting death of Officer Patrick Hardesty. The 40-year-old officer was killed while pursuing Cruz during a hit-and-run investigation.
The state Supreme Court rejected Cruz’s argument that he should get a new sentencing because of a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a sentencing issue involving information given to jurors about possible parole eligibility.
Cruz’s lawyers argued that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling was a significant change in the law but the state high court disagreed.
The Arizona justices said the 2016 federal ruling “was based on precedent well established at the time” that Cruz was convicted and sentenced.
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