Frein found guilty of all counts in ambush of troopers
MILFORD, Pa. — In the first of what will be two verdicts for Eric Frein, a jury on Wednesday found him guilty on all counts stemming from a 2014 ambush at the Blooming Grove state police barracks that left a decorated corporal dead and another trooper critically wounded.
The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for nearly four hours before finding Mr. Frein, 33, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson, and two counts of attempted murder for shooting Trooper Alex Douglass.
Mr. Frein, who stood slumpshouldered, sighed when the foreman finished reading. He showed no other emotion.
In the courtroom audience, Cpl. Dickson’s family sat near Trooper Douglass and his supporters. A few people wiped tears, but there was no sound. Pike County Common Pleas Judge Gregory Chelak earlier had admonished spectators to remain silent.
The verdict came after a 10-day trial and set the stage for the penalty phase, which will start Thursday afternoon. At that proceeding, which is expected to last into next week, both sides will present witnesses as they try to sway the jury for or against capital punishment.
“Eric Frein is a human being,
with the qualities of humanity that we all have,” said William Ruzzo, one of Mr. Frein’s two defense lawyers. “He has an inner core of goodness, as all of us do, despite some dastardly acts that he committed. Eric deserves to live.”
District Attorney Raymond Tonkin would not say whom he will call as witnesses, though he noted he has “the ability” to call the corporal’s family to give victim impact statements.
In addition to first-degree murder, first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and the two counts of attempted murder, the jury found Mr. Frein guilty of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, terrorism, possessing weapons of mass destruction, possessing an instrument of crime, recklessly endangering others and firing a gun into an occupied structure.