HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The Connecticut Appellate Court has dismissed an appeal from a man who shot two police officers and is now making another attempt at receiving a new trial.
The decision, published Tuesday in the Connecticut Law Journal, rejects four arguments from Jose Ayuso, who argued that a lower court made a mistake in denying him a new trial.
Ayuso was convicted in 2004 on two counts of first-degree assault, one count of attempt to commit assault in the first degree, one count of carrying a pistol without a permit and one count of criminal possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 41 years in prison. He has appealed his case multiple times.
Three Hartford Police Department officers were working undercover in June 2003 when they stopped in a parking lot, according to court documents. One of the officers recognized Ayuso, who loaded his gun and pointed it at an officer. He shot at an officer twice – hitting him once in a bulletproof vest – and kept shooting as the other officers fired back. A second officer was also hit.
Both officers were taken to a hospital and survived.
In court filings, Ayuso argued that his lawyer was ineffective and that the prosecutor “knowingly presented false testimony” when one of the officers in the vehicle said he saw a damaged bulletproof vest.
That damage, however, “was not relevant” to the crimes Ayuso was convicted of, and there was no evidence that the officer was hurt by anything other than a bullet Ayuso filed, according to the court.
Ayuso has claimed self defense, and had a psychologist who recently testified that Ayuso feared for his life at the time. However, the court noted in its ruling Tuesday, that evaluation came 15 years later, and the psychologist said that her diagnosis of “developmental trauma disorder” is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
He has claimed he was “just firing” at the vehicle because he thought the driver was reaching for a gun and was afraid for his life, according to court documents. He claimed that he thought he was going to be robbed, and argued that he didn’t know the people in the vehicle were officers.
Even if Ayuso did fear for his life, “the evidence at trial did not support a conclusion that his use of deadly physical force was objectively reasonable,” the ruling reads.
Ayuso’s argument that the jury was swayed when one of the officers “falsely testified” that they saw a damaged bulletproof vest didn’t convince the state court. It’s possible, the court wrote, that the officer was hit without the bullet striking or visibly damaging the vest.
Quoting from previous cases, Tuesday’s ruling said that ‘“the petitioner has attempted to turn a standard conflict between eyewitness recollection and physical evidence into an intentional falsehood. His claim is dubious and fails for a lack of credible evidence.’”
That testimony wasn’t false or “substantially misleading,” the court wrote in the 40-page ruling, and Ayuso can’t claim it is unfair “because there is no reasonable likelihood that the false testimony could have affected the judgment of the jury.”