Penalty Phase in Eric Frein Trial

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILFORD -- The Eric Frein trial enters the penalty phase Thursday afternoon. The jury will be asked to decide if Frein should get the death penalty.

On Wednesday, that same jury found Frein guilty on all charges.

The prosecution began opening statements for the penalty phase against Frein in pike county court.

Assistant District Attorney Bruce Desarro reminded the jury about the path of devastation Frein paved on the night of September 12, 2014.

Desarro told jurors to remember the facts and the law that are true especially when the defense calls their witnesses, saying, "when you hear people talk about Eric Frein, listen if they know how much you know or do they know the fa├žade."

The defense is asking jurors to spare the life of Frein who now faces the death penalty.

Attorney Bill Ruzzo said, "when you found him guilty, you already sentenced him to death. We now talk about whether Eric Frein dies a natural death in prison or on the gurney on some dark, lonely night in the future."

After opening statements, the prosecution called Cpl. Dickson's wife Tiffany Dickson to testify.

The nurse and mother of two could barely hold back her tears as she was shown pictures of her late husband, her children and remembered a number of memories they all shared before the night she got a devastating knock on her door.

In this story

She recalled the night two troopers and a priest told her that her husband was shot and killed outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks, how she had to tell her children, family, and friends Cpl. Dickson wasn't coming home.

As she spoke, many in the courtroom broke down in tears.

She says life now is lonely, sad, and dark. She isn't Tiffany Dickson anymore; she is the widow or the wife of a slain trooper.

"Life is sad, lonely. I have no support, no protection at home. The troopers help, but I have no one at home, no help fixing anything, no hand to hold, no breaks, no one to take to dinner, no breaks. I'm tired. He was my break."

The last time anyone was executed in Pennsylvania was in 1999 -- Gary Heidnik, the man who killed several women in the basement of his home in Philadelphia.

In 2015, Governor Tom Wolf put a moratorium on the death penalty in the state, essentially stopping the process he claimed to be ineffective, unjust and expensive.

Once the jury gets the case, they will deliberate only on whether to impose the death penalty. If they can't reach a unanimous decision, Frein will be sentenced to life in prison.