Gunshots killed Penn Hills police Officer Crawshaw instantly, pathologist testifies
A gunshot just below the left eye of Penn Hills police Officer Michael Crawshaw killed him instantly, a forensic pathologist testified Wednesday.
The shot, which lacerated Crawshaw's brain stem and fractured his skull, caused “instant, immediate, incapacitating death,” said Todd Luckasevic, a forensic pathologist at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.
Luckasevic's testimony highlighted the fifth day of Ronald Robinson's capital murder trial, but forced Crawshaw's family from Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski's courtroom because of graphic photographs prosecutors displayed to the jury.
Police say Robinson, 35, of Homewood killed Crawshaw about 8:25 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2009, moments after he killed Danyal Morton, 40, of Penn Hills inside a nearby house over a $500 drug debt.
Prosecutors say Robinson sprayed Crawshaw's white and gold police car with 13 rounds from an AK-47 military-style assault rifle, striking the officer twice — once in the head and once in the upper left arm.
Earlier Wednesday, Luckasevic testified that Morton was shot four times in the chest and abdomen. Any of the wounds were potentially fatal, Luckasevic said.
Robinson's defense attorney, Veronica Brestensky, has not disputed most of the facts in the case, and Robinson does not deny his role in the shootings. Brestensky, however, believes her client should be convicted of second-degree murder rather than first-degree because Robinson killed Crawshaw while attempting to flee the scene of a felony.
Prosecutors on Thursday are expected to play Robinson's taped confession, wrapping up the trial.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.