- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A jury found a Great Falls man guilty on Wednesday of killing a Cascade County sheriff’s deputy by hitting him with a car during a high-speed pursuit.

Jurors deliberated for about four hours before finding Adam Sanchez Jr. guilty of deliberate homicide under the felony murder rule in the Aug. 14, 2014, death of Deputy Joe Dunn.

Under the rule, a person participating in a felony can be charged with homicide if a death occurs. In this case, prosecutors said Sanchez was committing assault with a weapon when he swerved at Dunn as he put down stop sticks near Belt.

The Yellowstone County jury also found Sanchez guilty of assault with a weapon for swerving at another officer, criminal endangerment, negligent endangerment and assaulting a police officer as he was being arrested.

Robynn Dunn, the widow of the deputy, hugged her mother-in-law Linda Dunn in response to the verdict, while Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards said he “lost it” and didn’t hear the decision on the other charges, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

“I’m hopeful this brings comfort and peace to Joe’s family,” said Cascade County Attorney John Parker.

Defense attorney Tom Bartleson had argued there was no evidence that his client hit Dunn for any reason other than he was trying to maneuver around vehicles during the chase.

The case was heard in Billings after Sanchez argued he could not get a fair trial in Cascade County due to news coverage of Dunn’s death.

Sanchez, 41, is already serving a 20-year prison sentence for criminal endangerment for an earlier chase. He had been free pending sentencing in that case when Dunn was killed.

Prosecutors plan to seek a life sentence.

Sanchez was led out of the courtroom in shackles, awaiting transfer back to the Montana State Prison.

A sentencing date was not immediately set.


This story has been corrected to show Sanchez is serving a 20-year sentence for criminal endangerment

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