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Man accepts plea deal for El Paso police officer's death

The man accused of hitting and killing an El Paso police officer with his car was sentenced to 40 years in prison Tuesday morning.

John Paul Perry appeared in court at 9:30 a.m. for a plea deal hearing.

He pled guilty to manslaughter.

Perry was facing a capital murder charge in the death of Officer David Ortiz.

Prosecutors said Perry hit and killed the motorcycle officer in March.

His attorney, Joe Spencer, called it an accident. He said his client was high on Xanax and heroin at the time.

"(Perry) was not aware of his mental or physical faculties. It was an accident. Even the state's accident reconstruction report indicates that he was just driving down that same lane and he hit the person in front of him and unfortunately that was Officer Ortiz," Spencer said.

Spencer said his client faced a higher sentence because Perry is a twice convicted felon.

Ortiz's mother, Herlinda Ortiz, said she wanted capital murder charges and will fight to keep Perry in prison.

"At least we can start with our lives because we haven't been able to continue with our lives and we never will I'm sure, but this is a little justice we got for our son," said Ortiz.

Ortiz's family told KFOX14 the District Attorney's office never told them about the plea.

"He didn't deserve to die like that. He did not deserve to die like that. He was a very beautiful human being," she said.

If convicted and Perry had not accepted the plea deal, he would have faced life in prison.

KFOX14 requested an interview with District Attorney Jaime Esparza, but he declined and issued the following statement:

“The punishment of 40 years for manslaughter is based on a thorough and complete investigation.”

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