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Man who killed Deputy Joe Dunn denied appeal - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Man who killed Deputy Joe Dunn denied appeal

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Cascade County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Dunn Cascade County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Dunn
Adam Sanchez enters the courtroom in Great Falls (MTN News file photo) Adam Sanchez enters the courtroom in Great Falls (MTN News file photo)
GREAT FALLS -

Adam Sanchez, Jr., convicted for the 2014 murder of Cascade County Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Dunn, has lost his appeal to the Montana Supreme Court.

Sanchez was convicted of deliberate homicide in October of 2015 for hitting Dunn with his car during a high-speed chase east of Great Falls in August of 2014.

Sanchez was also convicted of assault with a weapon, assault on a police officer, criminal endangerment, and negligent endangerment.

The basis for Sanchez's appeal was whether the District Court abused its discretion by giving jury instruction No. 12: “When circumstantial evidence is susceptible to two interpretations, one that supports guilt and one that supports innocence, the jury determines which is most reasonable.”

In its ruling, the high court said: "The District Court fully and fairly instructed the jury in this case, and the instructions did not adversely affect Sanchez’s substantial rights."

RELATED: One year anniversary of Cascade County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Dunn's passing


(DECEMBER 10, 2015) Adam Sanchez, Jr., was sentenced on Thursday afternoon to life in prison without parole for the murder of Cascade County Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Dunn.

Sanchez was convicted of deliberate homicide in October of 2015 for hitting Dunn with his car during a high-speed chase east of Great Falls in August of 2014. Sanchez was also convicted of assault with a weapon, assault on a police officer, criminal endangerment, and negligent endangerment.

The defense had argued for a 60-year sentence with consideration for parole.

Sanchez is already serving a 20-year sentence for two other convictions of criminal endangerment.

Judge Sandefur to Sanchez: "I sentence you as follows: on the offense of a assault on a peace officer, I sentence you to serve 10 years in the Montana State Prison. On the offense of criminal endangerment, I sentence you to serve one year in the Cascade County Detention Center. On count three of assault with a weapon, I sentence you to serve a 20-year commitment in the Montana State Prison; on the charge of criminal endangerment, I sentence you to serve a 10-year commitment to the Montana State Prison."

Sandefur then handed down the sentence for the death of Deputy Dunn: "In regard to count one, I sentence you to serve life in prison without parole."

Before handing down the sentence, Sandefur told Sanchez: "Your reckless and deliberate and utter indifference for the lives of all these people literally snuffed out the life...of a young man who honorably served his country, his state, his community, his law enforcement family, and most of all his wife and his two young children."

Sandefur noted, "There is just no way to shine a positive light on this case. I recognize that you came from very humble beginnings. But you did have choices in your life.

Sandefur also noted that the pre-sentencing investigation detailed many charges and convictions for Sanchez dating back more than two decades.

Sandefur told Sanchez that he has to take into consideration several factors for sentencing: accountability, the nature of the crime, the harm he caused, both to the victims and to the community; and on the other hand, the potential for a rehabilitative return to society. 

In the course of considering those matters, Sandefur said, the court tries to analyze and look at mitigating and aggravating factors in the case, but he concluded that there were absolutely no mitigating factors in this case.

The defense attorney read the following statement from Sanchez: "First of all, I would like to apologize to the community of Great Falls and law enforcement. I want to say I'm sorry to Joe Dunn's children. I can't imagine what you have to go through. To Joe's wife, I apologize. If I could turn back time, I would. If I could change places with your husband, I would."

The defense attorney said that that Sanchez has been working to improve himself, taking courses on self-esteem and Bible study.

The defense attorney argued against life in prison, telling the judge that Sanchez has a "chronic medical condition." 

Robynn Dunn -- Deputy Dunn's widow -- talked about the devastating impact her husband's murder had on her family. She says that the pain is felt every single day, and especially during special moments in the lives of their children.

Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards said, "Now that this is over we can stop ripping the bandage off and revisiting it. We will never forget Joe and we'll never forget what happened and his memory will live on, but now it's time to start a new chapter for all of us and just move on the best we can and find that normalcy."

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