The man who was arrested for the ambush-style shooting deaths of two Des Moines-area police officers last year pleaded guilty today. Scott Greene of Urbandale was then sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison.
Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, at news conference after the court hearing, was asked about Greene’s motive. “I think he just disliked police officers,” Sarcone said. “I think we saw that in some of the conversations he had…he did not like police officers.”
The 46-year-old Greene admitted to killing Urbandale police officer Justin Martin and Des Moines Police sergeant Tony Beminio with an assault rifle in the early morning hours of November 2, 2016.
Greene told District Court Judge Karen Romano he’s been taking medication for depression. Sarcone said that may’ve been part of Greene’s defense strategy had the case gone to trial. But, he doubts it would’ve worked.
“When people suffer from depression, that’s one thing, but that’s not an excuse for criminal conduct,” Sarcone said. “This man planned what he was going to do. He had loaded that gun, he reloaded that gun, and he had other loaded magazines ready for that gun. He planned this out completely.” Writings and drawings on Greene’s jail cell walls following his arrest further tied him to the case. Sarcone said those writings included a “hit list” with six names.
“On the hit list were deputies from the jail and me, and he had check marks (next to the names) of the two officers,” Sarcone said. Greene’s trial was scheduled to be held in September in Dubuque. Sarcone said while he felt strongly about his case, he’s pleased with the turn of events.
“I think it’s something that’s probably better that the families don’t have to go through two or three weeks of trial and that process,” Sarcone said. “No, we don’t feel cheated at all. We’re glad that it happened and glad that he’s going to prison for the rest of his life.
“Urbandale Police Chief Ross McCarty said he got “no satisfaction or joy” from Greene’s guilty plea. “We’re glad he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison, our hearts go out to those correctional officers and inmates who have to work or be around him during that time, but as far as a satisfying end to it? No, this is going to go on with us and the Beminio and Martin families for a long time past this,” McCarty said.
Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert echoed McCarty’s statement. “I’m not to the point of forgiveness. But, those emotions within the law enforcement family pale when you compare them to the Martin and Beminio families and what they’re feeling,” Wingert said. “I don’t think anyone expected relief or closure. This will live on with us for the rest of our careers and the rest of our lives.”
Officer Justin Martin, who was 24, was buried in his hometown of Rockwell City. Sergeant Tony Beminio, who was 38, was an 11-year veteran of the Des Moines police department. He was married with three children.