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State tries to prove convicted cop killer is eligible for death penalty

State tries to prove convicted cop...

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The man convicted of killing a Coeur d'Alene police officer will soon find out if he's eligible for the death penalty.

Friday, Jonathan Renfro was found guilty of 1st degree murder in the killing of Sgt. Greg Moore. Monday marked the beginning of the penalty phase of his trial, with the statutory aggravating circumstance phase. 

In order for Renfro to be eligible for the death penalty, the state must prove one of four aggravating circumstances in the case. First, it can prove Renfro killed Moore because he was a police officer. It can also prove the murder was committed with the intent of carrying out or during the act of a robbery. It can also prove those same circumstances for a burglary. Finally, prosecutors can prove Jonathan Renfro has a propensity to commit murder.

During Monday's proceedings, the state spent a lot of focus trying to prove that last aggravating circumstance. It called on several corrections officers to testify about conversations they had with Renfro while he has been housed in jail.

Multiple officers said they had heard Renfro making threats against other officers and fellow inmates. They also said Renfro demonstrated how he could use common jail items, like a towel, to make a weapon.

Renfro's defense pushed back though, saying Renfro had never acted on any of those threats, and tried to prove that the convicted murderer is just a big talker who isn't planning on carrying out those threats. Those officers testified that it was true Renfro has never acted on any threats he mentioned.

The state also called on several of Renfro's former friends, who testified that he helped them regularly burglarize homes and cars. One of those witnesses also said Renfro carried a friend's gun with him sometimes, and said he was planning on getting his own.

The state has only a couple more witnesses to present in this phase of the case, and the defense will immediately follow. It's possible the jury will begin deliberations Tuesday afternoon.

If the jury finds the state did prove one of those aggravating circumstances, then the case will move to the final mitigating circumstances phase. That is where the jury will determine the degree of Renfro's moral culpability and if he should be put to death.