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Death penalty won’t be sought in Ohio police officer’s death

October 3, 2021 GMT

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Federal prosecutors have decided against seeking the death penalty against a man charged in the shooting death of an Ohio police officer almost two years ago.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland notified the court and defendant Nathan Goddard that the United States “will not seek a sentence of death” in the slaying of Dayton police detective and Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer Jorge DelRio, the Dayton Daily News reported.

The decision wasn’t explained in the letter filed Friday, the pandemic-delayed court-ordered deadline for the government to decide whether to pursue capital punishment.

Defense attorney Donald Malarcik, released a statement Friday afternoon saying he and his client were “grateful.”

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“Mr. Goddard believed he was the victim of a home invasion and never intended to harm Detective DelRio,” Malarcik told the newspaper.

DelRio was with other task force members serving a drug-related warrant at a Dayton house in November 2019 and was shot in the face as he was entering a basement, authorities said. He died after being taken off life support several days later. Police said large amounts of fentanyl, cash and weapons were found at the residence.

Goddard and two other men are accused of having participated in a drug conspiracy that led to the officer’s death. Prosecutors previously said they would not seek the death penalty against the other two defendants.

DelRio was last week honored for the first time at the Montgomery County annual law enforcement memorial ceremony. On Friday, the Ohio Narcotics Association Regional Coordinating Officers named its Valor Award after DelRio, who was posthumously given the 2021 Valor Award.