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Prosecutors will seek death penalty for suspect accused of killing Chandler cop

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has recently decided to seek capital punishment for Jonathon Altland, the defendant accused of murdering a Chandler officer.

CHANDLER, Ariz. — The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is planning to put Jonathon Altland to death if it successfully convicts him for murdering a Chandler police officer earlier this year. 

Altland, 25, was indicted in May for the first-degree murder of Christopher Farrar, who died after Altland allegedly ran the officer over during a series of chaotic events around Chandler and Gilbert. 

The defendant allegedly led officers on a car chase that started in Pinal County and ended outside a car dealership, where Farrar and another officer were hit by the suspect's vehicle. 

Farrar, an 18-year veteran of the Chandler agency, died at the hospital and the other officer survived.

On Nov. 10, county prosecutors filed paperwork to notify the court they intended to seek the death penalty against Altland. Prosecutors are given a certain amount of time to decide whether to seek capital punishment after criminal charges have been filed. 

RELATED: Funeral held for Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar

Capital cases can often take longer to litigate than regular criminal cases, so prosecutors will sometimes forgo seeking the death penalty in order to resolve cases more quickly.   

Maricopa County has been criticized over the years for seeking the death penalty too often and for the wrong cases. 

According to a 2016 study published by Harvard Law School, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office sought the death penalty at a higher-than-average rate. 

Between 2010 and 2015, the county obtained 28 death sentences, making Maricopa one of only 16 counties in the U.S. to impose more than five death penalties during that time frame. 

In addition to murder, Altland is facing several felony charges that include endangerment, aggravated assault, and unlawful flight from law enforcement. 

Prosecutors intend to show evidence of Altland's criminal history as an aggravating factor to justify putting the defendant on death row, court records show.

Arizona has not executed a convicted felon since 2014. In April, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced his office intended to carry out the executions of at least two death row inmates. 

Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast of Officer Farrar's funeral service.

RELATED: Arizona court declines to revive death penalty bid against immigrant

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