Juror who voted to send man convicted in killing of police officer to life in prison speaks out

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A member of the jury in the sentencing phase of a man who was convicted in the killing of Gilbert Police lieutenant nine years ago is speaking out about her decision to vote for the man to be sentenced to life in prison.

The woman said a life sentence was the right choice, even as the jury foreman said most of the jury wanted to sentence Christopher Redondo to death.

The jury had spent five months on this capital punishment trial. The foreman, Jessica Neisler, said at one point, at least seven out of the 12 jurors would have voted to sentence Redondo to the death penalty, but one juror adamantly disagreed.

"There was one particular who she just told us I'm not going to change my vote. This is where I stand so if we're hung, we're hung," said Neisler. "She wasn't gonna cave, so we had to all convince ourselves what would be fair for the family."

The juror who Neisler said "wasn't gonna cave" is Myla Fairchild. Fairchild said since doctors declared Redondo severely mentally ill, he should be shown some mercy.

"He had not any opportunities to take care of the mental illness. He was poor, severely abused, and this is not an excuse for his behavior. Just for me, it just was a mitigating circumstance I can't ignore, and it's just the law. It was just having to follow the law, and it was very difficult to do," said Fairchild.

Jurors are given specific instructions on how to deliberate, and one of those instructions is that a juror cannot change their vote for another juror. However, even Fairchild cannot say justice was served in this case.

"There is no possible way for justice to ever be served on any crime," said Fairchild. "Justice would be Lt. Shuhandler comes back to life, he's with his family, none of this ever happened."

Fairchild was asked if she believed the punishment given to Redondo fit the crime.

"I can't answer that," said Fairchild. "I don't have any answer for that."

Neisler said she cried when she signed off on the life sentence for Redondo.

"Because he deserved the death penalty, because he got away with murder," said Neisler. "He was already serving a life sentence for another murder, and this one, he just got away with it."

"We were definitely a little bit disappointed, because it would've been nice to see him get the justice he deserves," said Lt. Shuhandler's daughter, Meredith. "After nine years, we just want it to be done. We're OK with it."

If the penalty phase had ended with a hung jury, it would have been declared a mistrial. Then, it would be up to the prosecution if they wanted to pursue a new penalty phase of the trial, and that could have taken several more years.