Jury Selection in Eric Frein Case Begins in Chester County

WEST CHESTER, PA -- Jury selection began Thursday in the trial of accused killer Eric Frein.

Frein is accused of ambushing state troopers at the Blooming Grove barracks in Pike County in 2014.

It could be weeks before a jury is picked for the death penalty trial of Frein.

The jury is being picked in Chester County and day one of jury selection saw only nine people sent home out of 100 potential jurors.

Attorneys figure it could take two weeks to pick 12 jurors and six alternates to hear the case against Frein.

Prosecutors in Pike County are seeking the death penalty if Frein's found guilty of the most serious charge, and in order to give the accused cop killer a fair trial, the jury will come from Chester County, outside Philadelphia.

For the next couple of weeks, it will be a revolving door of potential jurors coming through the Chester County Justice Center.

Jury selection started with 104 men and women inside a courtroom in West Chester. A judge from Pike County asked questions including whether they know key players in the death penalty case against Eric Frein.

Frein is accused of an attack on the Blooming Grove state police barracks in 2014, leaving one trooper dead, another wounded. Frein then led authorities on a 48-day manhunt.

"Asking a lot of questions about how we felt about the case, I guess," said Eric Phillips of Coatesville.

He was one of nine dismissed on the first day because of a previous run-in with the law. He's relieved to know he won't be one of 18 selected to spend nearly two months in Pike County for the trial.

"I would not have felt very good, up to Pike County for six, seven weeks. I have to go to work."

On these first two days of jury selection in Chester County, roughly 100 potential jurors will be questioned each day, then on Monday comes the individual process during which those potential jurors will be interviewed one by one.

"We're looking for fairness, jurors that will keep an open mind, compassion," said Frein's attorney Michael Weinstein.

A woman was the only one to stand when asked if anyone knew Corporal Bryon Dickson, the trooper Frein's accused of killing in September 2014.

We also learned that testimony could last up to five weeks and two more for the penalty phase, if needed. All jurors would be required to stay in the Milford area of Pike County Monday through Friday to hear the case.

"It's clearly going to be a hardship and they'll have to adjust to it. That's the way our system works," said Weinstein.

Jurors were asked if they have any problem imposing the death penalty if Eric Frein is convicted. Some stood saying yes. Seven in ten say they know Frein from TV coverage of the attack and subsequent manhunt in Pike and Monroe Counties.

"It's a capital case. That makes it very difficult. Number one, they're coming 100 miles away from home. And number two, it's difficult to make a decision," said Frein's attorney Bill Ruzzo.

"As you know, there was a lot of coverage in this case, and it is a case that would have had a lot of notoriety," said Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin.

10 comments

  • Phart

    Hey Lloyd, let’s hear who you really think did it. You can’t just say he was framed without supporting that statement. so, who pulled the trigger??

  • sam

    Brothers before others. Can’t wait until he explains why he did it. Or will that testimony be squelched?

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      Are you kidding me?

      Maybe 1 out of 100 think he guilty or even had anything to do with it.

      I’m typically on the side of the police. I even donate to their causes and fund drives any and EVERY TIME they call or send something in the mail.

      However, I happened to watch this entire story under the same microscope that EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON WITH AN OPINION DID and that microscope was WNEP.

      SO, drawing my conclusion from the EXACT same information as you and everyone else has, I have to say that I do not support the police on this one.

      I believe that this guy is 100% being framed.

    • Don

      You’re not very bright are you?

      We have this thing in the United States called “due process.” Look it up, shut up about your Sharia Law “justice”, or pack up and move back to whatever Muslim country you were spit out of.

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