Death penalty sought in Chandler officer’s slaying - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Death penalty sought in Chandler officer’s slaying

December 5th, 2021 development
Death penalty sought in Chandler officer’s slaying
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Death penalty sought in Chandler officer’s slaying

By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

The Maricopa County Attorney’s office plans to pursue the death penalty against the man accused of killing a Chandler police officer.

Jonathon Altland of Tolleson faces 32 charges for the events that took place on April 29 that resulted in the death of 50-year-old Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar and severe injuries for Gilbert Police Officer Rico Aranda, who remains on restricted duty.

County officials are citing prior convictions as one of the aggravating factors for seeking the death penalty – including vehicle theft and fleeing police.

Another aggravating factor is the victim was a peace officer and the suspect either knew, or should have known, he was one performing his official duties.

Prosecutors say the 25-year-old Altland led police on a chase that started in Eloy and ended at a Gilbert car dealership the night of April 29.

In addition to the charge of first-degree murder, he faces 20 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful flight from law enforcement, endangerment, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree burglary and four counts of disorderly conduct.

According to court records, Pinal County sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop Altland for speeding near Eloy in the spring. They soon learned the yellow truck he was driving had been reported stolen.

Altland was headed north on State Route 87 toward Chandler. He began to pull over, but then allegedly fired at the deputies before fleeing. He drove at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour and at one point crashed through a gate at Chandler Municipal Airport, driving onto the runway.

Police continued to pursue him as he drove the wrong way on surface streets. He finally left the vehicle after crashing it into the northern embankment of the Loop 202 west of Val Vista.

He fled on foot inside the SanTan Motorplex in Gilbert, where police say he stole a car. He used it to crash through a closed bay door. Police claim he then drove toward a group of officers in what they describe as an intentional act.

The officers fired as he approached. That’s when the car Altland was driving struck Farrar and several others.

Farrar was an 18-year veteran of the Chandler Police Department. He had three children and a grandchild.

Police say six people were injured that night because of Altland’s actions.

Altland’s trial is tentatively scheduled to start next Oct. 10 but capital cases can go on for years before reaching a jury.

It took more than nine years, for example, before a jury got a chance to convict the man who shot Gilbert Police Lt. Eric Shuhandler to death in 2010.

Death penalty sought in Chandler officer’s slaying

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