ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It is now up to a jury to decide whether Keith Sandy and Dominque Perez should be convicted for the death of homeless camper James Boyd.
Closing arguments lasted most of the day. In those arguments, prosecutors and the defense described James Boyd in two very different lights for the jury.
“He was not a dangerous animal that needed to be bagged and tagged,” said Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn. “He was a mentally ill man who was just having one of the worst days of his life.”
Prosecutors started closing arguments by saying police should not be above the law and homeless campers should not be beneath it. Telling the jury, Sandy and Perez fired shots to kill a mentally ill person when he was surrendering.
While prosecutors asked a jury to convict both Sandy and Perez of 2nd degree murder, they really went after Sandy during closing arguments.
“Defendant Keith Sandy was one of the most dangerous kinds of officers you could have on the street,” said McGinn. “Somebody who was out there with something to prove, whether it was to regain his reputation, whether it was to show how tough he was, whether it was something darker, I’ll let you be the judge of what was happening there.”
McGinn said Sandy was not in the foothills to help James Boyd but to hurt him. She also brought up how he was fired from State Police and how he called the homeless camper a lunatic before the shooting.
When it came to Perez, McGinn admitted he had no ulterior motive. But she said he still shot and killed Boyd when he was surrendering.
The defense described James Boyd very differently, saying Boyd was hostile and was given every opportunity to surrender and didn’t. Instead, they said Boyd stepped towards an APD K-9 handler with his two pocket knives.
“Officer Perez did what he was trained to do and acted in accordance with the policies that were imposed upon him,” said Defense Attorney Luis Robles. “And it would simply be wrong to hold Officer Perez accountable for committing a crime, when in fact, what he did is he saved a life.”
The defense also called Sandy and Perez, “good men,” and asked the jury to stand up to the government.
“These two men need you to say loudly and clearly that they did not have murder in their hearts. They were just doing their job,” said Sandy’s Attorney, Sam Bregman.
The defense ended its closings, citing the Bible.
“In the Old Testament the Book of Deuteronomy; justice, justice, justice shall you pursue. These two men need you to do justice today and find them not guilty of all charges,” said Bregman.
If convicted of second-degree murder, Perez and Sandy could face up to 15 years in prison.