DENVER (AP) — A Colorado jury on Thursday convicted a man in the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in 2018.
Dreion Dearing, 24, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of first-degree murder and felony murder of a peace officer.
Dearing also was convicted of first-degree burglary.
Prosecutors said Dearing shot 31-year-old Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm when the deputy tried to stop him for questioning because he matched the description of a suspect in an assault and burglary nearby.
Dearing’s public defenders argued their client was attempting to run away when he shot Gumm in self-defense after the deputy fired the initial shot. Authorities said Dearing shot first.
Dearing’s attorneys argued that a pattern of racial discrimination wrongly skewed the legal system against their client, who is Black, the Denver Post reported.
Prosecutors denied that racial bias played a part in the case.
“This case is not about race,” 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young told the jury during closing arguments. “This is about his actions. And I don’t care who is sitting at that table. Whatever that person’s actions are, they should be held accountable for those actions. He’s guilty.”