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21 April 2017, 04:50 | Laverne Osborne
Trial ending for Pennsylvania man who eluded manhunt in trooper ambush
A Pennsylvania jury on Wednesday began deciding the fate of Eric Frein, an outdoorsman accused of murdering a state trooper in a 2014 sniper attack that triggered a massive manhunt.
Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin is seeking the death penalty against Frein, 33, who allegedly opened fire from a wooded area across the street from the Blooming Grove barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania on September 12, 2014. Cpl. He shot Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson dead and wounded trooper Alex Douglass.
Almost 1,000 members of law enforcement participated in the six-week manhunt in the northeastern Pennsylvania woods before USA marshals captured Frein outside an abandoned airplane hangar. "The way they villainized him, we can't make him a holy man, but we're trying to make him a man".
Frein is charged with first-degree murder; first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer; attempted first-degree murder; attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer; assault of a law enforcement officer; two counts each of terrorism and possession of weapons of mass destruction; and one count each of recklessly endangering another person, discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure and possession of an instrument of crime.
After the prosecution finished its case Tuesday morning, the defense called no witnesses and presented no evidence. Another trooper, who ran to Dickson's aid, was left debilitated after the attack.
Douglass testified against Eric Frein (freen), the anti-government survivalist who prosecutors say targeted the Blooming Grove barracks in hopes of sparking a revolution.
Outside the courthouse after the verdict had been announced, Eric Frein's defense attorney William Ruzzo said the defense's attention is shifting to convince the jury that his client does not deserve the death penalty.
The dragnet shut down schools and roads and forced several small towns to cancel trick or treating on Halloween.
Pennsylvania has a moratorium on executions under Gov. Tom Wolf.
Prosecutors have called dozens of witnesses in addition to the more than 500 pieces of evidence.
"On behalf of the Pennsylvania State Police, I would like to thank the Pike County District Attorney, members of the jury, and the court for ensuring that a cowardly killer faces justice". Pennsylvania last used the death penalty in 1999.
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