PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After more than two years, the trial for the man charged in the fatal shooting of three Pittsburgh police officers during a standoff in Stanton Heights will begin Monday morning..
Under tight security, a jury from Dauphin County will begin hearing opening arguments in the trial of Richard Poplawski at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Monday morning.
The out-of-county jury will be housed, fed and protected at taxpayers’ expense as long as the trial lasts.
“It is going to be expensive, exorbitantly expensive, but absolutely necessary in these circumstances,” said Robert Del Greco, an attorney. “This is a well-publicized case; there is much hanging in the balance, there is much at stake for both parties.”
Del Greco is in no way affiliated with the case, which remains under a gag order.
Poplawski will be tried in connection with the deaths of Officers Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo II.
They all died in April of 2009 while responding to a domestic call at the Poplawski family home on Fairfield Street.
The jury of seven men and five women will listen to dozens of witnesses, see graphic autopsy photos and hear emotional testimony from family members.
“I suspect this will be probably the most emotional and difficult decision each of them will have made in their lives,” said Del Greco. “Just consider that essentially, at some phase they will consider whether or not Poplawski lives or dies.”
It’s expected that jurors will see a number of police officers in the packed courtroom. So many spectators are expected to be in attendance that the trial will be broadcast by closed circuit television to a second courtroom.
Judge Jeffrey Manning was quoted saying that he hopes to finish the trial before July 4.
“I’m not quite as ambitious as he is, but he also pledged to start early, work late, and even throw some weekends in,” said Del Greco.