BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – Life plus 60 years. That’s the sentence for Andrew Romero, the career criminal who gunned down Rio Rancho Police Officer Gregg Benner.
Tuesday, prosecutors asked a judge to throw in additional time, and he agreed. Prosecutors say they really wanted to send a message to anyone thinking about killing a cop.
Last month, the state requested what’s called a “supplemental criminal information” hearing with Judge George Eichwald. The state listed three of Romero’s prior felony convictions from before the Benner killing.
The state argued Romero is a career criminal, and Tuesday the judge agreed and tacked on another 40 years.
“I think this was important for the state and for our community to know that we did everything we could to ensure that Andrew Romero was sentenced to everyday that is entitled under the law. And he’ll never get out to hurt another person, another police officer, another community,” said Barbara Romo, Deputy District Attorney.
Officer Benner’s widow, Julie Benner, was not in court Tuesday. She did, however, write a letter that was read out loud in court, asking the judge to impose the maximum sentence possible.
Romero is also facing an additional 29 counts of stemming from a string of armed robberies he’s accused of committing in the weeks before that shooting.