PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The man convicted in the 2009 deaths of a Penn Hills police officer and another man will now spend the rest of his life in prison.
After getting the case on Monday, jury deliberations in the Ronald Robinson trial stretched into Tuesday afternoon. At around 2:30 p.m., it was announced that they had reached a verdict.
When it was read, the jury had found Robinson guilty of first-degree murder for killing Danyal Morton, and guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Penn Hills Police Officer Michael Crawshaw.
Shortly afterward, Robinson was sentenced to life in prison. Morton’s family did not want to pursue the death penalty.
Robinson said nothing after learning he was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Morton in an alleged dispute over drug money.
The jury, during their deliberations, asked to hear again his confrontation with Morton recorded over a live phone line.
But the jury agreed that the death of Officer Crawshaw was second-degree murder requiring a life sentence but no eligibility for the death penalty.
Defense attorney Veronica Brestensky convinced them Crawshaw’s death was not premeditated.
“The law is pretty clear; I don’t think the Commonwealth was able to establish a clear intent to kill Officer Crawshaw,” Brestensky said. “It’s a very tragic case, but tragic cases don’t meet the threshold that the law requires.”
“I can’t say that it’s unexpected,” said Mark Tranquilli, the prosecutor. “I understand where some of the jurors may have been coming from, but you know, when you… at the end of the day when you take an AK-47 and you shoot 12 times at a police officer, I think you have the specific intent to kill for first-degree murder.”
During victim impact statements, the mother of Officer Crawshaw testified: “The worst nightmare a mother can experience is the loss if her child… Ronald Robinson has the luxury of continuing his life.”