By Hundson Sangree
A Yolo County judge is scheduled to sentence Marco Antonio Topete this morning for the assault-rifle slaying of sheriff's Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz in June 2008.
Jurors in the case recommended that Topete receive a death sentence. Judge Paul K. Richardson will decide whether to follow that recommendation, after ruling on yet another motion for a new trial by defense attorneys.
The hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 4 at the Woodland courthouse.
Jurors found Topete ambushed Diaz with a military style assault rifle on a dirt road near rural Dunnigan after a high-speed car chase.
They rejected Topete's statements that he had only meant to scare the deputy and make his getaway.
The shooting happened soon after the convicted killer in a prior Yolo cop-killing case, Brendt Volarvich, was sentenced to death by a Yolo County judge for the shooting of California Highway Patrol Officer Andy Stevens.