PHOENIX - An Arizona man on trial on charges he fatally shot a police officer during a routine 2007 traffic stop told the officer, "I've got something for you," before he fired the fatal shot, a prosecutor said Monday in opening statements.
Bryan Wayne Hulsey, 40, is charged with killing Glendale Officer Anthony Holly, 24, after Hulsey exited a vehicle that had been pulled over for speeding and not having a license plate. Hulsey was a passenger in the vehicle, while Holly was there to serve as backup to another officer who made the stop in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez said the shooting erupted after Hulsey said, "I've got something for you," and fired two shots, one of which hit Holly.
"The defendant's aim was true," Martinez said. "One bullet was all it took to the face of Anthony Holly to kill him -- Officer Anthony Holly, who was just doing his job."
Hulsey, wearing dark-framed glasses and sporting a buzz cut, looked squarely at the jury as the prosecutor made opening statements. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. His attorneys have denied he killed Holly and instead alleged that he was unintentionally shot by the officer who pulled over the vehicle.
Hulsey's attorney, Michael Reeves, said the surviving officer panicked after seeing a gun that was in Hulsey's possession and fired off a flurry of shots, one of which struck Holly, Reeves said. "He cannot be convicted of murder because of that accident," Reeves said.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Martinez said the three people in the vehicle, including Hulsey, had smoked methamphetamine the night before and the morning of the traffic stop and that Hulsey gave his methamphetamine to a backseat passenger once the vehicle was pulled over. Martinez said Hulsey was upset during the stop and complained that they were being pulled over for having a cracked windshield.
Authorities say Hulsey, a front-seat passenger, 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.
Earlier in the case, a judge declined a request by Hulsey's attorneys to exhume the officer's body after his lawyers said a medical examiner who performed Holly's autopsy didn't extract a foreign substance that was visible from X-rays of the officer's head. A ballistic expert for Hulsey's defense said he believes those substances are metal fragments from the bullet that killed the officer.
Prosecutors said there was no credible evidence that Holly was shot by the other officer and that the exhumation request was "wishful thinking" by defense lawyers who hope they may turn up something from the body.
A judge turned down the exhumation request because the body had already been cremated.