Justice Delayed No More for SJ Officer's Family

The long awaited trial of a man accused of shooting and killing San Jose police officer Jeffrey Fontana will finally get underway next week. 

South Bay prosecutors announced Friday that they will not appeal a ruling that took the death penalty option off the table.

The trial is now scheduled to begin Tuesday, Jan. 13.

Fontana's accused killer, DeShawn Campbell, has been in jail for years awaiting trial while lawyers debated his mental capacity in various courtrooms.

Fontana was shot and killed Oct. 28, 2001 following a routine traffic stop.

"We wanted the ultimate justice for Jeff. We believe him being a police officer, he deserved it," said Fontana's brother Greg about the decision to not go for the death penalty.

Greg added that not getting the ultimate justice is the most disappointing thing for his family.

"Withdrawing the death penalty in this case is an extremely difficult decision for me, for this office, to make," Carr said. "I continue to believe that the death penalty is an appropriate penalty in certain cases, including this one."

In December, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Diane Northway ruled that Campbell was mentally retarded. That ruling made Campbell no longer eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

Family members, prosecutors and police Chief Rob Davis each reiterated their disappointment with Northway's recent decision to change her August 2007 ruling that Campbell is not mentally retarded.

"Obviously we're disappointed," Davis said of the "ultimate justice" begin taken off the table.

He said there will be outreach to the Police Department to help employees understand the case and continue with their work professionally.

In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment for mentally retarded convicts.

Campbell has been in jail since November 2001.

Judge Northway initially ruled against Campbell's retardation, but overturned her ruling after it was discovered that someone who gave testimony about his condition may have mistaken Campbell for someone else.

The maximum penalty Campbell now faces is life in prison.

Greg Fontana described his brother as an athletic, funny and charming man who growing up knew he wanted to be a cop.

"(Jeff) was a great cop, and unfortunately he died doing what he loved," he said.

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