April 5 (UPI) -- A civilian police dispatcher gave an emotional account of an officer's cry for help in the trial of Eric Frein, accused of gunning him down outside Pennsylvania police barracks.
Nicole Palmer testified Tuesday that Cpl. Byron Dickson II mouthed the words "help me" as he lay dying in the 2014 shooting.
Frein, 33, is on trial in Milford in Pennsylvania's northeastern Pike County on first-degree murder and terrorism charges. He faces the death penalty for the ambush and shooting of two state police officers on Sept. 12, 2014. Dickson was shot and killed, and Trooper Alex Douglass was injured during the shooting at a remote trooper barracks.
Palmer said she was entering her late shift as a police communications operator in the Blooming Grove State Police Barracks when she saw Dickson heading for the door, saying, "Good night. See you in the morning."
As Palmer was working, she said she heard a gunshot outside of the front door of the barracks. She said Dickson cried out.
Palmer said she rushed to the door as soon as she heard the gunshot. She then heard another gunshot and saw dust rise in front of her.
In an emotional testimony, Palmer said she saw Dickson on the ground outside the barracks. She said when Dickson tried to speak at first, she could only hear blood gurgling in his throat.
"He mouthed, 'Help me,'" Palmer said. "He was just looking up at the sky."
Palmer said she ran inside to the barracks not knowing what happened or from where the shot came, but as she ran in the building she found she was locked out of the barracks and stuck in the lobby.
She looked out to Dickson again and asked him what happened. He struggled to speak but said he had been shot. He asked her to drag him inside, she said.
"I looked at him and told him, 'I can't,'" Palmer said. "I was afraid for my life."
Frein appeared on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List" after the 2014 shooting, and triggered a manhunt lasting 48 days and involving more than 1,000 law enforcement officers searching the Pocono Mountains region of the state. Lives of area residents were disrupted by the manhunt: schools were closed, trapping was banned in the area and the typically lucrative fall foliage season attracted few tourists.
The manhunt attracted national media attention and prompted defense attorneys to seek jurors from another county, who were aware of, but unaffected by, the case. Frein's trial will likely be focused on whether he deserves the death penalty for Dickson's death.
Ed Adamczyk contributed to this report.