CHANDLER, Ariz. — The last remaining defendants of a criminal case involving the 2010 murder of a Chandler police officer have been sentenced to prison, almost exactly 12 years after the detective's death.
Corey Royalty, 51, and Jerry Cockhearn, 37, were convicted this summer for their involvement in the death of Detective Carlos Ledesma, who was working undercover when he was shot at a Phoenix home near 23rd and Southern avenues on July 28, 2010.
Ledesma and two other Chandler detectives were ambushed while attempting to complete a drug transaction, according to the Chandler Police Department.
Ledesma and two others were killed by the gunfire. The two other undercover detectives were wounded. The deceased detective left behind a wife and two children.
A group of seven defendants was arrested and charged with Ledesma's death. Royalty and Cockhearn are the last two defendants in the group to have their cases resolved.
Other defendants took plea deals, but Royalty and Cockhearn had their cases taken before a jury and were found guilty of eight felony counts.
According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Royalty was sentenced in July to 43 years to life in prison and Cockhearn was sentenced to 38 years to life in prison.
“The death or injury of any officer in this community is a tragedy. The men and women of law enforcement put their life on the line every day to keep our community safe but, the reality that some may not return home at the end of a shift is occurring all too often in Maricopa County,” stated County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.
Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said holding all the defendants involved in Ledesma's death accountable has been a frustrating and emotional process.
"Twelve years later, the Ledesma family and the men and women of the Chandler Police Department finally have a sense of closure," Duggan said in a statement.
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