By Curt Prendergast The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson
TUCSON, Ariz. — The man accused of fatally shooting a Nogales, Arizona, police officer last week was arraigned Wednesday on 39 felony counts ranging from murder to impersonating a peace officer.
David Ernesto Murillo, 28, is accused of killing Nogales police Officer Jesus Cordova near Villa’s Market in Nogales. Police said the shooting came during a series of carjackings on Arizona 82 east of Nogales and in Nogales.
Cordova tried to stop Murillo near the market, but Murillo fired on Cordova while Cordova was still in his patrol car, police said. More than 10 casings were found at the scene.
After shooting Cordova, police said Murillo carjacked another vehicle and was apprehended in a trailer park several miles from the scene of the shooting.
Murillo entered a plea of not guilty to all charges Wednesday, according to the clerk’s office at Nogales Justice Court.
Murillo was led into the courtroom in a jail uniform and a bulletproof vest, the Nogales International reported. He told Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez he worked as a builder in Tucson and Phoenix, but came back to Nogales.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in Nogales Justice Court, Santa Cruz County prosecutors charged Murillo with three counts of first-degree murder, although Cordova was the only person killed.
Murillo faces one count of first-degree murder in the slaying of Cordova. The second count deals with murder during the course of a kidnapping, robbery, or unlawful flight from law enforcement. The third count deals with killing a police officer in the line of duty.
Deputy County Attorney Liliana Ortega explained her office is pursuing all three murder charges, but Murillo can only be sentenced for one of them.
Ortega said her office is considering pursuing the death penalty and she expects they will decide soon.
No other injuries were reported during the carjackings, but Murillo is accused of one count of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.
Murillo was charged with 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The firearm listed was an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
He also is accused of seven counts of armed robbery; five counts of kidnapping; five counts of theft of a means of transportation and one count of attempted theft of a means of transportation.
Murillo also was charged with two counts of criminal damage and one count each of unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle, unlawful discharge of firearms, and burglary.
He is also charged with two counts of impersonating a peace officer. Ortega said she could not provide details of the events leading to that charge.
The April 27 shooting was the first time since 1888 a Nogales police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty, Nogales police Chief Roy Bermudez said at a news conference the day of the shooting.
State court records show Murillo pleaded guilty in 2009 in Santa Cruz County Superior Court to being a passenger in a stolen vehicle. He was sentenced to probation.
Cordova worked with Nogales police for one year, after 11 years with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.
Cordova left behind a wife who is pregnant and three children.
©2018 The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Ariz.)