Survivalist who ambushed police seeks to avoid death penalty

Posted April 20, 2017

"I certainly acknowledge that that mountain of evidence you heard and you saw points to my client, Eric Frein", defense lawyer Michael Weinstein said in a brief closing argument in which he thanked the jurors for their attentiveness.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says "justice was served" Wednesday when a jury convicted Eric Frein (freen) of first-degree murder and other counts in the 2014 attack. A second trooper, Alex Douglass, was shot as he tried to help Dickson and was left with debilitating injuries.

On Monday, jurors heard from trooper Alex Douglass, who survived the September 12, 2014, ambush at the Blooming Grove barracks. Douglass was critically wounded.

Douglass says he was trying to drag the mortally wounded Dickson into the barracks when he felt as though he "got hit in the back with a baseball bat". Douglass has had 18 surgeries and doctors expect he will undergo more.

On Monday, Douglass got a chance to confront his alleged assailant, describing years of pain and rehabilitation for a jury weighing capital murder charges against the man he called a coward.

Frein was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, first-degree murder and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, several weapons charges, and terrorism. Frein could either receive a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty.

Frein was "literally hunting humans" when he peered at his targets through a scope during a late-night shift change and squeezed the trigger four times, Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin told jurors in his closing argument.

Trooper Alex Douglass embracing Major George Bivens after Eric Frein was found guilty on all charges.

Frein's laptop was used to search online for "how to escape a manhunt" and "how are manhunts conducted" in May 2013.

Frein eluded capture for almost seven weeks before US marshals found him outside an abandoned airplane hangar more than 20 miles from the shooting scene. He had been on the run for 48 days, sparking a costly, intense manhunt.

Today: Testimony in the death penalty phase begins at 1:30 p.m. Frein was caught after a 48-day manhunt.

In 10 days, prosecutors presented 54 witnesses and introduced almost 540 pieces of evidence, including pages detailing the shooting from a journal Frein wrote while on the run, DNA analysis linking Frein to the Norinco rifle used during the shooting, pipe bombs found at a campsite Frein used, a letter to his parents about the need for a revolution and his videotaped confession from the night of his capture.