Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Frein jury hears about the life of slain trooper

- By Laurie Mason Schroeder

MILFORD, Pa. — The jury deciding Eric Frein's fate heard more tales Friday about the man Mr. Frein killed during a sniper ambush at the Blooming Grove state police barracks in 2014.

A steady stream of witnesses took the stand at the Pike County Courthouse, recounting memories of Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson.

Cpl. Dickson's mother, Darla Dickson, told the jury she does not hate Mr. Frein, but “that does not mean that I don't hold him responsibl­e.”

A jury on Wednesday convicted Mr. Frein, 33, on a dozen charges including first-degree murder of a law enforcemen­t officer and terrorism. The panel is now hearing evidence before voting on whether he should be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole or put to death by lethal injection.

Prosecutor­s presented their case Thursday and Friday. Mr. Frein's attorneys are expected to call witnesses next week, including his family members and a psychologi­st.

State Police Sgt. Derek Felsman, a longtime friend who gave the eulogy at Cpl. Dickson's funeral, described the 38-year-old corporal as “the closest thing to perfection that I have ever seen walk this Earth.”

While Mr. Frein was on the run for 48 days following the Sept. 12, 2014, shooting, Sgt. Felsman was one of the troopers who guarded Cpl. Dickson's family. He described an incident a few days after Cpl. Dickson's funeral in which there were reports of a man with a gun near the house.

Cpl. Dickson’s wife and children were rushed into the basement, Sgt. Felsman said, while troopers with rifles set up a protective perimeter around the house. Sgt. Felsman was stationed at the front door with a pistol until police determined the man was a guard at a nearby power station who posed no threat to the family.

“It really hit me, then, the magnitude and the senselessn­ess of it all,” Sgt. Felsman said.

Darla Dickson said her son was a hard worker who loved animals and adored his family.

Stacey Hinkley, Cpl. Dickson's sister, told the jury stories about growing up with him and their younger brother, Brandon.

“I miss his laugh,” Ms. Hinkley told the jury. “I just miss him.”

Mr. Frein's attorneys did not cross-examine any of the witnesses. Mr. Frein sat, expression­less, at the defense table as they spoke.

A jury from Chester County is hearing the case, due to concerns over Mr. Frein's ability to get a fair trial in Pike County.

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