Jury foreman in murder trial wanted death penalty for Gilbert Police lieutenant's killer

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Nearly a decade after Gilbert Police Lieutenant Eric Shuhandler was murdered, his killer, Christopher Redondo, was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.

The trial's jury foreman said, however, that wasn't the verdict she wanted, as she believes Redondo should have been sentenced to death.

The jury had spent five months on this capital punishment trial, and when it came to deciding if Redondo should die for shooting and killing Shuhandler in cold blood, the jury foreman said it really didn't come down to life or death. Rather, she said, she voted for what she thought was best for Shuhandler's surviving family.

Jessica 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."

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."

"I'm very grateful for that. It would've made it harder for a lot of us," said Lt. Shuhandler's daughter, Meredith.

Meredith was 12 years old when her father was killed. She is now 22, and about to graduate from Arizona State University. When her father's killer was finally convicted of murder earlier in the year, Meredith said that verdict gave her closure, but she hoped Redondo would have been sentenced to the maximum punishment.

"We were definitely a little bit disappointed, because it would've been nice to see him get the justice he deserves," said 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.