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Jury In Poplawski Trial Hears Defendant’s 911 Call

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The second day of testimony in the trial of a man accused of killing three Pittsburgh Police officers got under way Tuesday morning.

The first SWAT team officer on the scene took the stand and described the incident.

Officer Steve Mescan talked about what it took to remove the injured and dead officers while being under heavy gunfire.

Their initial plan of action was to remove Officers Timothy McManaway and Eric Kelly from the scene.  McManaway was shot in the hand and Kelly later died from his injuries.

In order to retrieve the bodies of Officers Paul Sciullo II and Stephen Mayhle, officers drove a SWAT vehicle in front of the house.

During their rescue efforts gunfire came toward them from the front window of the house.

Officer Mescan said the fire fight lasted for about 30 minutes.

He also testified that the SWAT team was running out of ammunition and required other officers to resupply them.

The jury also heard audio tapes of the phone conversation between Poplawski and police negotiators. The conversation was nearly 50 minutes long. Poplawski said he knew was going to jail and that he was ready to give up. These are excerpts from that phone call:

Poplawski: “I still got plenty of ammunition up here, don’t get me wrong. But I’m mot gonna shot anymore innocent officers, OK?”

Negotiator: “Are there any officers in there we can come in and get help?”

Poplawski: “There was an officer in the doorway earlier. I don’t know if you’ve come and got him out of the doorway yet or not.”

Negotiator: “OK”

Poplawski: “I mean, I can still fight you guys if you want to…. You ain’t here to help me. Let’s be honest. You’re a cop. I knocked some of your comrades down. I feel bad about it. Please get in here and get me some medical attention.”

They also heard the 911 call the defendant made after he was injured.

Operator:  “What – do you want to come out? Want to give yourself up or what?”

Poplawski:  “I can’t give myself up because I’m laying in a pool of blood and I can’t really move, but I’m done taking innocent police officers’ lives.  So if they would come and get me and that would be great.”

Later on in the tape, Poplawski uses racial epithets about the prospect of sharing cell space with black inmates.  There was some argument about whether the jury should hear that, but they ultimately did hear that conversation.

Pictures of the SWAT team on the scene were also released.

Detective Joseph Novakowski testified that Margaret Poplawski, the defendant’s mother, told police shortly after the end of the incident that police, “should have killed her son.”

She also told police that she did not know why her son had engaged police.

The testimony was given outside the hearing of the jury.  The judge did not allow jury to hear the  alleged quote from Poplawski’s mother.

But the jury did hear testimony of the defendant’s friend, Michael Bogart, who testified he called Poplawski during the gun battle not knowing he was involved.

Bogart testified he asked, “What are you doing?”

“I got shot,” replied Poplawski.  “I just shot three cops. I’m probably going to bleed to death or go to jail for the rest of my life.”

Then he ended the call.

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RELATED LINKS:
Pittsburgh Police
Trial For Accused Cop Killer Expected To Be Costly
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