Slain police officer's father 'floored' by decision on death penalty

Jan. 15, 2014 at 1:56 AM
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PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The father of a young Philadelphia police officer gunned down in 1991 says he did not expect a judge's decision to vacate the killer's death sentence.

Patrick Boyle, himself a retired Philadelphia police detective, said at a news conference Tuesday he was "floored" by Common Pleas Judge M. Theresa Sarmina's ruling. Sarmina said late Friday Daniel Bracey is developmentally disabled and cannot constitutionally be executed.

Boyle's son, Daniel, was 21 and in his first year as a patrolman when he was killed. Family members sat through a hearing in April.

"After listening to all the testimony on the district attorney's side, I really felt that the only way she could rule is for us," Boyle said.

First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann said his office will decide whether to appeal. He said Bracey's previous appeals had been rejected by the courts.

Sarmina's decision was based on a 2002 Supreme Court ruling that executing the mentally challenged is unconstitutional. She found he was of "sub-average intelligence" and had problems with "adaptive behavior."

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