EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A driver must serve 40 years in prison for the 2016 death of a West Texas police officer who was struck while on his stopped motorcycle.
John Paul Perry was charged with capital murder but on Tuesday pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in a plea deal in El Paso. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty against the 45-year-old Perry, who was sentenced by a judge.
Investigators say Perry last March drove a car that hit El Paso police officer David Ortiz on his cycle at an intersection. Both vehicles burst into flames. Ortiz died four days later.
According to KVIA, police said Perry intentionally hit Ortiz and was on Xanax and heroin at the time of the crash.
Several witnesses are cited in court records who say they saw Perry approach the intersection at a high rate of speed and “abruptly change from the center to the right lane where the officer was stopped.”
Authorities arrested Perry about 400 miles away, in Merkel.
Perry’s lawyer says the crash was accidental.