L.A. district attorney drops death penalty for man charged with killing police officer

by Jeffrey Swindoll · Feb 21st, 2021 5:50 pm

Last Updated Feb 22nd, 2021 at 8:51 pm

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said he would not seek the death penalty for Michael Christopher Mejia, 30, charged with killing a police officer and his own cousin in 2017.

Officer Keith Boyer, 53, was killed when he responded to a report of a traffic collision in which Mejia was involved. Mejia also shot officer Patrick Hazell while trying to flee the scene of the crash. Hazell survived.

Deputy District Attorneys Garrett Dameron and Geoff Lewin both objected to removing the death penalty from the case.

"[D]espite our attempts to prevent this from happening, we've been ordered to remove the death penalty as punishment consideration in this case," Dameron said.

Gascón, who was sworn into office two months ago, pledged he would no longer pursue the death penalty, adding that he had a "mandate from the public."

Boyer's stepfather, Don Clark, said removing the death penalty is "a punch to the gut."

"People don't realize how hard it is on the families," Clark said. "What Gascón's doing -- not only to our family, but to the cousin's family -- but to so many other families … that's absolutely horrendous."


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