Accused cop killer gets maximum sentence for probation violation

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The career criminal accused of ambushing and killing a Rio Rancho police officer was sentenced in a different case Thursday but the officer’s widow was there to make sure the judge came down hard on him.

Romero is accused of gunning down Officer Gregg Benner during a traffic stop on Memorial Day. Thursday, he was in court for repeatedly violating his probation from robbery and gun charges before the Benner murder.

Both Romero and his lawyer did not say much other than requesting the judge to sentence him immediately.

The prosecutor however was not shy about listing all of Romero’s past violent crimes.

“He shot a 24-year-old man in the face,” said the prosecutor. “The man did die.”

The string of armed robberies Romero is accused of pulling off were also brought up. These are crimes he was wanted for at the time of Benner’s killing,

But it was Officer Benner’s wife who got the last word.

“Please give him the maximum sentence for this parole violation,” said Officer Benner’s wife, Julie Benner.

The judge did give Romero the maximum sentence, 11 and a half years behind bars. Prosecutors have made it clear since the beginning that they want Romero to face the strictest sentences for all his charges.

Prosecutors are looking for a sentence of life without parole for the murder and ambush of Officer Benner.

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