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City Police Chief, Prosecutor React To Poplawski Death Sentence

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(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) — A day after a jury sentenced Richard Poplawski to death, the city’s chief of police and the prosecutor who tried the case are reacting to the verdict.

“The justice system worked and we have faith and I have faith in the justice system and the outcome proves that the justice system is capable of working,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper.

Harper shares the reaction of most police officers who crowded both the main courtroom and overflow courtroom.

“There was no reasonable doubt,” a juror said. “There was nothing to question the way he laid things out for us.”

Jurors credited the painstaking work of prosecutors who organized nearly 50 witnesses and 500 pieces of evidence.

“We spent a good week over at police headquarters going through bins and bins of physical evidence, separating the wheat from the chaff,” Mark Tranquilli, the lead prosecutor, said.

But with all the trial preparation, the prosecutor also prepared the victims’ families for this reality. A death sentence does not mean death anytime soon, but death row is different than the life of other inmates.

“As a death row prisoner, he’s locked down 23 hours out of a 24 hour day,” Tranquilli said. “He’s in solitary confinement. He’s sort of like Hannibal Lecter from ‘Silence of the Lambs.’ He doesn’t get any human contact.”

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