DA will seek death penalty for man accused in Reno cop killing
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick will seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing Reno police officer John Bohach.
“This did shake up the community pretty bad,” Gammick said Monday in announcing his decision to seek the death penalty for Larry Peck.
Peck, 50, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Bohach in a standoff at a Reno residence on Aug. 22.
More than 3,000 people attended the funeral for Bohach, 35, who left behind a wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 11.
Gammick said Peck is subject to the death penalty because he completed three of the necessary aggravated circumstances — killing a police officer, attempting to escape from police and putting more than one person’s life at risk. Gammick said he met Friday with his senior staff and area law enforcement officials to review the case and determine whether Peck’s execution would be warranted if convicted of first-degree murder.
Gammick, a former law enforcement officer, said he wanted to be sure to follow the strict letter of the law, but that it was not difficult to reach his decision.
“For me personally, no,” he said at a news conference Monday. “It’s well-known, I’m a little on the red neck side anyway,” he said.
Police have described Peck as a survivalist who hated the government and law enforcement officers. He is accused of shooting and killing Bohach with a single armor-piercing bullet from a high-powered rifle. He allegedly fired the shot — which passed through a van and into Bohach’s chest — from a house he had barricaded himself in after a police pursuit that began with a traffic violation.
He’s scheduled to be arraigned Friday before Washoe District Court Judge Brent Adams.
“I would say there’s not much of an issue of who committed the shooting,” Gammick said Monday.
Gammick said he was aware Peck’s defense lawyers were questioning whether police followed proper procedures in negotiating with Peck during the standoff, but that he did not expect that to be a problem for prosecutors. Police officers at the scene asked Peck repeatedly to lay down his weapon and surrender, Gammick said.
“From all the evidence I’ve seen, the officers acted in an extremely appropriate manner that day,” he said.
Gammick said he anticipated Peck’s lawyers would argue their client was mentally unstable at the time of the shooting, a mitigating circumstance that could help shield him from the death penalty.
“I do expect it to be an issue,”Gammick said. “But I’ve not seen anything to date that would make it a major issue.”
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