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Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds death penalty in trooper ambush

By
Danielle Haynes
Eric Matthew Frein's lawyers said his trial lawyers violated his right to remain silent when they allowed the jury to view a video of him speaking to police after his arrest. File Photo courtesy of the FBI
Eric Matthew Frein's lawyers said his trial lawyers violated his right to remain silent when they allowed the jury to view a video of him speaking to police after his arrest. File Photo courtesy of the FBI

April 26 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania's highest court on Friday upheld the death sentence of a man who ambushed two state troopers, killing one, in 2014.

The state Supreme Court voted 5-2, saying evidence in the case supported the first-degree murder conviction and death penalty for Eric Frein.

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A jury convicted Frein in 2017 for the murder of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson II and the shooting of trooper Alex Douglass at a state police barracks in Blooming Grove. He then led authorities on a 48-day manhunt.

He was also convicted on charges of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, terrorism, using a weapon of mass destruction, possessing an instrument of crime, recklessly endangering others and firing a gun into an occupied structure.

In the appeal, Frein's lawyers said his counsel during his first trial violated his right to remain silent when they allowed the jury to view a video of the defendant talking to law enforcement after his capture.

During his initial trial, prosecutors described Frein as an anti-government survivalist.

Despite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling, Frein may not face the death penalty anytime soon. Gov. Tom Wolf placed a moratorium on executions in the state in 2015 pending the results of a report on the punishment.

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