Death penalty will not be sought in Dayton detective DelRio’s shooting death

The man accused of shooting and killing Dayton Police Detective and DEA Task Force Officer Jorge DelRio will not face the death penalty in his federal criminal case, according to court documents filed Friday.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland wrote in a letter filed in the case that prosecutors “are authorized and directed not to seek the death penalty against Nathan Goddard.”

“The United States hereby notifies the court and defendant Nathan Goddard that the United States will not seek a sentence of death against Nathan Goddard for the charges contained in the indictment,” the court document says.

The decision not to seek the death penalty wasn’t explained in the court records. Goddard’s defense attorney, Donald Malarcik, released a statement Friday afternoon.

“We are grateful that the attorney general decided not to pursue death. Mr. Goddard believed he was the victim of a home invasion and never intended to harm Detective DelRio,” Malarcik told the Dayton Daily News.

Goddard, Cahke Cortner and Lionel Combs III are charged in connection with the death of DelRio. The three are accused of participating in a drug conspiracy that led to DelRio’s shooting death in a raid in November 2019.

Prosecutors previously said they will not seek the death penalty against Cortner nor Combs.

ExploreRecords: 2 charged in connection to Dayton officer’s death won’t face death penalty

DelRio was shot twice while serving a drug-related warrant at a home on Ruskin Avenue on Nov. 4, 2019, as part of Drug Enforcement Administration ask force in Dayton. Police said DelRio was walking down steps when he was shot twice in the face.

DelRio died on Nov. 7, 2019.

The decision was supposed to be made earlier this year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was pushed back. Defense attorneys noted they needed more time to gather mitigating evidence to present to the government as to why they should not seek the death penalty.

That was finished and submitted in May, court records say. Friday was the court-ordered deadline for the government to decide whether to pursue the punishment.

The decision not to seek the death penalty also was made on the same week that DelRio was honored for the first time at the Montgomery County annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony. The ceremony was held Monday and DelRio’s name was read among 39 other Montgomery County Law Enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

Also on Friday, the Ohio Narcotics Association Regional Coordinating Officers named its Valor Award after DelRio. DelRio was posthumously given the 2021 Valor Award.

A next court date in Goddard’s, Combs’ and Cortner’s case wasn’t listed on the docket Friday afternoon. The three remain in custody.

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