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Eric Frein’s Sister Calls Brother ‘Her Protector’

MILFORD -- The defense has called its last witness in the penalty phase of Eric Frein's trial after Frein's sisters and others testified on behalf of the convicted killer.

The jury in Pike County could soon start deciding whether he should be sentenced to death.

Frein's attorneys have made their case for sparing his life.

Eric Frein looked disheveled and off in space while the final witnesses took the stand on his behalf.

Just a couple of months after the deadly shooting, jurors heard a phone conversation from the Pike County Correctional Facility between Frein and his mother.

"I don't get it," Frein told his mother. "I keep getting letters from the media. Once the trial is over, I want money."

Frein was chuckling, telling his mother he'd give his story to the highest bidder.

Defense attorneys don't believe the recording holds any significance to jurors' decision.

"The press was trying to contact him in jail. He was being hounded. I think it was off-the-cuff comments, no effort to sell stories at least not on the part of the defense," said Frein's attorney Michael Weinstein.

The recording is part of the prosecution's rebuttal to the defense's case to show why the convicted cop killer should not be sentenced to death.

An art director who hired Frein in 2009 to help with a film about a military battle fought by the Marines testified Tuesday.

Then Frein's sister Tiffany, who was adopted at 4 years old, told jurors, "He was my big brother, the one I looked up to, my protector."

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Tiffany Frein told jurors when she was 6, their father grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground. Another time, she said their father broke down her bedroom door and punched her in the face seven times and that in both instances, Eric was the one who helped her.

Frein cried as she testified. "He made me feel like I wasn't a piece of ****.  He made me feel like someone actually loved me."

Older half-sister Ellen Mitchell testified that Eric's father Eugene Frein would call her drunk and talk about affairs he had and how he wanted to kill people.

Then, with the jury out of the courtroom, Frein answered questions about his decision not to testify based on his attorneys' advice.

"We were concerned the judge might allow him to go over the details of the crime. Eric would have, of course, have to admit it and defendants typically rationalize, or we were afraid that would happen," said Frein's attorney Bill Ruzzo.

Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin then called rebuttal witnesses in the afternoon, trying to counter the case made by the defense that Frein was a loner in life.

"I don't know how you're alone if there's two friends with you or at least one friend with you. You heard his one friend testify it was him and Eric. I don't know how that makes you a loner because you have a friend," said Tonkin.

Defense attorneys are convinced they've shown enough to outweigh any reasons to put their client on death row.

"I'm going to tell them, essentially, our mitigation equals or outweighs aggravating. Don't kill Eric Frein because he's a human being," said Ruzzo.

Both sides will make closing arguments and the same jury that convicted Frein last week will decide if he should be put to death.

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