PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Testimony continues today at the Allegheny County Courthouse in the trial for the man accused in a standoff and shooting that claimed the lives of three Pittsburgh police officers.
KDKA’s Harold Hayes reports that a forensic pathologist testified that Officer Paul Sciullo, the first officer killed during the gunfight, and whose body lay in the doorway, was shot four times in the head. Two of the wounds were consistent with shotgun blasts. He was shot a total of eight times.
Earlier, Judge Jeffrey Manning overruled a defense motion to bar evidence of which websites the defendant, Richard Poplawski, viewed in the hours before the shooting.
The judge allowed the prosecution to show that the defendant viewed the Storm Front website, a white supremacist group, as well as a Fox News report on a mass murder-suicide in upstate New York between 3:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. The shootings began just after 7 a.m.
The jury saw new pictures taken in 2008 of Poplawski holding firearms and wearing bullet resistant vest in addition to pictures of a campsite in Clarion County where Poplawski is said to have had target practice.
On Wednesday, the third day of the trial, more evidence and new photos were presented.
Photos of the deadly aftermath show the Fairfield Street home in Stanton Heights where the standoff happened as unkept and strewn with debris, among the mess were several weapons and ammunition. One box contained 900 unused rounds.
Investigators say the actual shootout with police lasted about 30 minutes. Then, authorities say Poplawski talked by phone with a negotiator.
Negotiator: “Why did this all happen?”
Poplawski: “You know something officer, I would just like to get in custody and head to the hospital. We can all sit around the table. Now, I’m under extreme stress. I’m delirious if you can’t tell.”
Negotiator: “You’re shot twice in the leg?”
Poplawski: “It seems that way. Maybe once.”
Also on Wednesday, the jurors saw pictures of spent shell casings, bullet holes in the walls and the bedroom Poplawski allegedly moved in and out of during the shootout.
Poplawski: “Um, well, I’m either gonna take my life or go to jail for the rest of it. What do you think the best way to do it is?”
Negotiator: “Well, I think the best way to do it is just take a breather, let us get you some help. We’ll just figure it out from there.”
Poplawski: “Well, I’m going to jail one way or another.”