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Trial Begins For Accused Penn Hills Cop Killer

(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) – It’s been more than three years since a Penn Hills Police Officer was shot and killed. Now, after several setbacks, the man accused of killing him is on trial.

During Thursday’s proceedings, the jury heard 911 tapes from a call placed by one of the shooting victims before he died.

Police say that victim, Danny Morton, owed the suspect, Ronald Robinson, $500 for a drug debt.

According to investigators, Morton tried to hide in a bathroom, but Robinson – nicknamed “Black” – found him, and Morton pleaded for his life. He was killed with an AK-47.

Morton called 911 and left the line open as he pleaded for his life.

[Gunfire]

Morton: “I swear to God, I have your money. I told you… I just told you, I’m coming out now. I swear to God, Black, I had all your money. I swear to God on my grave… Black, I’m going to let it go. I’m going to give you $500 right now.”

Robinson: “Pull it out. Pull it out now.”

[Gunfire]

Morton: “I’m dead… I’m dead.”

Prosecutors say Robinson then left the house, saw Officer Crawshaw and fired 13 rounds at him.

“Danny Morton knew the phone line was open as he pleaded for his life. Robinson shot Morton four times. He walked out as Officer Crawshaw pulled up. Robinson fired 13 shots concentrated on the driver’s side. Mike Crawshaw didn’t have a chance,” Prosecutor Mark Tranquilli said during opening statements.

While the prosecution argues this is a first-degree murder, punishable by death, the defense has a different view.

“The evidence is overwhelming. But don’t be overwhelmed by the evidence about who did this. Just because a police officer is one of the victims doesn’t mean its an automatic first-degree murder case. This is second degree murder,” Defense Attorney Veronica Brestensky said.

The man who lived in the house, and also called police, is in protective custody so that he can testify against Robinson.

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