Jury Hears Closing Arguments In Poplawski Trial
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The trial for an accused cop-killer resumed Saturday morning and the defense quickly rested their case. Now, the jury is expected to begin deliberations this afternoon.
According to KDKA-TV’s Harold Hayes, defense attorney Lisa Middleman called no witnesses and rested her case almost immediately.
Closing arguments in the trial began around 11:45 a.m. and concluded shortly after 2 p.m. The judge began giving the jury their final instructions at 3:30 p.m.
Middleman took an hour to give her closing argument to the jury.
She contended that the prosecution never adequately investigated whether Margaret Poplawski, the mother of the defendant, could have played a role in the shootings. Middleman also said Poplawski was in a panic and thought police would kill him if they saw the weapons inside the Fairfield Street home in Stanton Heights.
But prosecutor Mark Tranquilli took about an hour and 15 minutes to argue that only Richard Poplawski was responsible.
“He is, besides being a coward, an excellent shot,” said the prosecutor. “He massacred Officer Sciullo even after he was down. Officer Mayhle was a hero with a capital ‘H.’ He engaged in a gun battle he couldn’t win and for his heroism he gets shot in the back like a dog. Officer Kelly was assassinated before he could even get out of his car. Poplawski was lying in wait.”
On Friday, the prosecution rested their case against Poplawski after their final witness took the stand.
Pittsburgh Homicide Detective J.R. Smith testified that he went to Poplawski’s room at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital the day after the shootings.
During that time, Poplawski allegedly made a confession.
According to Smith, he was surprised he was only charged with killing three officers because he thought he killed four.
Smith said Poplawski told him that his mother was extremely stupid to call police knowing he [Poplawski] had guns in the house.
Poplawski is accused of killing Officers Paul Sciullo II, Stephen Mayhle and Eric Kelly when they went to his home to answer a domestic disturbance call in April of 2009.