FREIN TRIAL | Closing arguments made, jury now deliberating charges against Frein
MILFORD, Pa —
Closing arguments are set to begin this morning in the trial of Eric Frein, the 33-year-old accused of gunning down a state trooper and shooting another during an ambush-style attack in 2014. Frein could face the death penalty if found guilty in the case.
"There has to be a defense that's based in fact and it doesn't appear to me that they had any factual basis for a defense," said Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin after testimony wrapped up yesterday.
Testimony wrapped up yesterday morning when Frein’s defense team decided not to call a single witness or present a single piece of evidence. In stark contrast, the prosecution presented several dozen witnesses over ten days of testimony, unveiling over 530 pieces of evidence.
“It's for the jury now to evaluate the evidence, evaluate the testimony and make a decision as to whether or not it complies with the judge’s instructions about the burden of proof," said defense attorney Michael Weinstein.
Frein is accused of gunning down Corporal Bryon Dickson outside of the Blooming Grove State Police Barracks in September of 2014. The shooting also severely hurt Trooper Alex Douglass. The manhunt for the alleged cop killer lasted 48 days before Frein was caught hiding out in an abandoned resort airport hangar.
"It really spanned numerous agencies and many of those agencies contributed to the finding of Eric Frein and bringing him here today to the steps of justice," Tonkin said.
After testimony wrapped up yesterday, Frein's defense team said they fully expect this trial to go to the penalty phase.
"We hope the jury will understand that Eric Frein is a human being, and displays qualities of humanity and a core of goodness we all have," said Bill Ruzzo, Frein’s attorney.
For the most part, Frein showed little emotion during yesterday's testimony even while a forensic pathologist described how the two bullets killed Corporal Dickson, a father of two.
Most people anticipate that closing arguments will take a few hours and then the judge will charge the jury, giving them some last minute instructions before sending them off to deliberate.
If found guilty, the work isn't done. Jurors will then begin the death penalty phase of the case, trying to decide if Frein should be sentence to life without parole or death. That could start as early as Thursday.