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Former Nashville police officer Andrew Delke plead guilty Friday morning to a charge of manslaughter after he was previously charged with murder for the 2018 shooting of Daniel Hambrick.
As part of the plea deal, Delke will serve three years in prison and waive the right to appeal the case or seek parole. The three-year-sentence is a fraction of the potential life sentence Delke was facing if he had been found guilty of murder.
Delke is the first Nashville police officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting. And he’s only the second to face criminal charges for killing someone.
Family shocked, outraged by plea deal
The hearing Friday turned chaotic while Hambrick’s mother, Vicki Hambrick, was making the victim’s impact statement.
“They better take you out of here in cuffs because I’m going to come over there and smack the sh*t out of you. Oh yes I am. I hate you. Delke come into my (inaudible), you better watch your back in jail mother f*cker. I hate you. (Assistant District Attorney) Roger (Moore) I hate you too. You told me a g*d damn lie and I hate you. I can’t believe this judge. I can’t believe it. I’ve been going through this for three years. Judge, I lost my mother, I lost my grandmother, I lost my father, my father had a stroke and a heart attack. I can’t believe this. Because of you, I lost my son’s father because of you.”
Vicki Hambrike appeared to lunge at prosecutors after making her statement, threatening District Attorney General Glenn Funk and Delke.
“I’m going to get you. I’m going to get you mother f*cker. I’m going to get you, I’m going to get you,” Hambrick shouted as Delke was rushed out of the courtroom.
Journalists shocked at plea deal, too
WPLN’s Samantha Max has been following the case for more than two years, and was shocked when the prosecution offered the deal to Delke.
“Obviously, a plea deal is always possible, and it’s how the vast majority of criminal cases are worked out in this country. But with such a high profile case, I have to be honest that I was not expecting it. Hambrick’s sister, Jasmine Davis, told me her family was also completely caught by surprise. Davis said the district attorney told her family that he’d offered Delke a deal without any warning. The family is incredibly disappointed. They’ve been waiting three years for this trial and have faced one delay after the next from the pandemic, things with different people that the prosecution was supposed to bring in. So a plea deal is a pretty anticlimactic end to such a long and emotional legal battle for them.”
Andrew Delke has been on desk duty for the last three years while his case has played out. He resigned from the police department once he signed his plea deal.
Defense team expects Delke to serve less than two years in prison
Delke read a statement where he apologized for the killing of Hambrick to the courtroom Friday.
“I am pleading guilty today because I recognize that my use of deadly force was not reasonably necessary under all the circumstances. I recognize that what happened on July 26, 2018, was tragic,” Delke said. “Ms. Hambrick lost her son that day and I am responsible for her loss. These are facts that I will have to live with for the rest of my life, and no mother should have to experience the loss of a child, and not a day has gone by that I have not thought about my actions. I also recognize that my actions impact the community and the police department. I hope this case can contribute positively to the much-needed discussion about how police officers are trained and how we as a community want police officers to interact with citizens. I am deeply sorry for the harm my actions caused and I hope that Mrs. Hambrick’s family will obtain some comfort from my acceptance of responsibility in my guilty plea today.”
Delke’s defense team said he will likely serve a year and a half in jail with standard credits.