Daniel Renteria, who was convicted of negligent homicide after going to trial four times, was denied a new trial Monday.
Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Fields said Renteria received “an absolutely fair trial” despite arguments made to the contrary by Renteria’s attorney, Natasha Wrae.
Renteria, 29, was convicted of negligent homicide in last year's death of Richard Rue Jr. and acquitted in the death of James Marschinke.
Renteria told jurors he believed Marschinke raped his 3-year-old son and claimed Rue threatened to kill him.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office took Renteria to trial four times after three juries were unable to reach a unanimous decision.
Following his conviction in August, Wrae filed a motion for a new trial alleging juror and prosecutorial misconduct.
Wrae complained that during opening statement and closing argument, Deputy Pima County Attorney Mark Diebolt repeatedly told jurors Rue and Marschinke had constitutional rights, society can't tolerate vigilante justice and Renteria didn't think the law applied to him.
Those comments were inappropriate, Wrae said.
The defense attorney also attached to her motion affidavits from two jurors who said the jury foreman, who happens to be a UA law school librarian, discussed how much time Renteria would serve if convicted — even though jurors are told multiple times they are not to discuss punishment during deliberations.
Fields refused to consider the affidavits, citing rules that say judges are not to delve too deeply into why jurors make the decisions they do.
Renteria is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 26.
Renteria is facing a mandatory prison sentence of between four and eight years.