Closing Arguments in Penalty Phase of Frein Trial

Pike County Courthouse in Milford

MILFORD -- The jury in the Eric Frein case is deliberating whether to give the cop killer the death penalty.

Prosecutors pointed to all that evidence saying, "that murderer made a choice to pull that trigger again and again and again and again."

Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin told jurors the defense was,"trying to deflect from the murderer and put Eugene Frein (Eric's father) on trial."

Tonkin talked at length about the legal issues that he believes require a sentence of death and spoke about, "the real Eric Frein," the "murdering terrorist over there" while playing a video of the deadly ambush at the state police barracks in Blooming Grove back in 2014.

The prosecution left jurors with a photo of Corporal Bryon Dickson's widow Tiffany with her boys Adam and Bryon and just their father's uniform.

Meanwhile, defense attorney Michael Weinstein talked about the two families -- the Dickson family forged in love, laughter, and service, and the Frein family forged on lies.

Weinstein told the jury Eric Frein spent his life seeking the approval of his father. The attorney pointed out testimony during the penalty phase that indicated Frein's father lied to the family all along about his military service, was abusive, and said Eric is going to pay and pay dearly.

But Weinstein questioned, "do we want him to die by lethal injection by the government?"

In a final plea to save Frein from the death penalty, Weinstein asked the jury to spare his life, or what's left of it.

The prosecution called one final rebuttal witness to the stand Wednesday morning in the sentencing hearing -- a criminal law professor who testified to going to SCI Graterford, a prison with inmates serving life sentences who are able to play in softball leagues, watch cable TV, and work jobs.

Robert Blecker told jurors life takes on a new meaning for prisoners serving life sentences, but on cross-examination did agree that loss of liberty is a form of punishment.

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Then prosecutors played a phone conversation of Eric Frein and his father from earlier this month where the two discussed defense strategy, basically alluding to it not being Eric's fault, his father being, "a nut job."

Jurors then heard closing arguments Wednesday afternoon and began deliberations on a death sentence. If they all can't agree, Frein will have an automatic life sentence.

The Pike County sheriff plans to ring a bell at the top of the courthouse if the sentence is death, a tradition that hasn't been observed in Milford in roughly 30 years.

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