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Updated Sep 3, 2013 - 12:31 pm

Former Phoenix officer testifies in murder trial

PHOENIX -- A former Phoenix police officer charged with murder and animal cruelty in the on-duty killing of a man and his dog during a domestic violence call has taken the witness stand in his trial.

Prosecutors said Richard Chrisman abused his police powers when he fatally shot 29-year-old Daniel Rodriguez in October 2010 even though the unarmed man posed no threat to officers.

Chrisman, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated assault and animal cruelty charges, has maintained the shooting was justified because Rodriguez reached for the officer's gun during a tussle that preceded the shooting.

The nine-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department began his testimony Tuesday explaining how he responded to the call with his partner. He was expected to continue testimony Tuesday afternoon.

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