Poplawski sentenced to death by lethal injection
Richard Poplawski was sentenced to death tonight for killing three Pittsburgh police officers in 2009.
The jury of seven men and five women, brought in from Dauphin County because of intense publicity, made their decision about two hours after beginning their deliberations at 4:13 p.m. and announced it in court at 6:59 p.m. They gave Poplawski three consecutive death sentences.
Poplawski, 24, was convicted Saturday by the same jury of killing Officers Eric G. Kelly, Stephen J. Mayhle and Paul J. Sciullo II during a shootout April 4, 2009, at Poplawski's Stanton Heights home after they responded to a 911 call for a domestic disturbance.
Poplawski showed no reaction to the verdict.
Dozens of police officers lined a hallway of the courthouse as he was led out of the courtroom and silently watched him pass, just as they did Saturday night after he was convicted.
As the families of the slain officers passed, however, the men and women in uniform broke into applause. The clapping continued as prosecutors walked by, followed by members of the jury.
Dan O'Hara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, praised the outcome.
"Obviously we feel that the death sentence was the right decision in this case, and we're pleased with it," O'Hara said. "It may be decades before he's executed, or he might die of natural causes first. Hopefully I'll still be alive to see it."
The crowd of police officers later moved to the courtyard of the courthouse and applauded Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning as he left the building.
Richard Poplawski was found guilty of all charges in the slayings of three Pittsburgh police officers.
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