PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Stanton Heights man convicted of shooting and killing three Pittsburgh Police officers now appears to be looking online for female pen pals while he’s on death row.
The online sites and postings have outraged many, including the highest political figures in Pittsburgh, and now in the state of Pennsylvania.
In Harrisburg, state leaders have started putting together legislation to make so-called “convict pen-pal” legislation illegal.
Pennsylvania’s Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, a Republican, says this cannot be tolerated.
“We need to shut this down because of the pain that it’s really inflicting on the victims and their families,” said Rep. Turzai. “And it just goes against a sense of justice that somebody who’s in jail for being a cop killer should be able to engage in this type of activity.”
Poplawski, a convicted cop killer and death row inmate, has a website called “Friends Beyond the Wall.” On it, he describes himself as “bright” and a listener. It goes on to say: “I’m still young and handsome.”
He also says: “I can write deep penetrating letters. But I’d rather just have fun. Let’s laugh.”
Rep. Turzai calls that “intolerable” and promises action.
“We’re going to have to find a way the put legislation in to prohibit this kind of action,” he says.
On a second site, a video – apparently produced by an outside third party – shows crime scene video and photos of the day in 2009 when Poplawski shot and killed three Pittsburgh Police officers.
It shows actual photographs from inside the home where Poplawski fired at police. It shows him proudly displaying his weapons.
“A pretty egregious video that almost parodies the death and destruction he caused that day,” said the Pittsburgh mayor’s Chief-of-Staff Kevin Acklin.
Mayor Bill Peduto’s office acted quickly, sending a demand letter to the company that maintains the site. It said in part: “If you do not remove the page, we will pursue various legal remedies, including without limitation legal action and if necessary new legislation.”
The letter had an immediate impact. Early Friday, the video was removed from the Poplawski dating sites.
And now there’s an increased effort to get rid of the sites all together.
“Other states, such as Indiana, have actually passed legislation banning this type of activity because it’s so egregious,” said Acklin.
The city also just sent a notice to “LiveLeaks,” where the actual video still exists, even after being taken off of the dating sites. Officials are asking “LiveLeaks” to take it down, saying, “This video is a travesty and is causing actual harm to the families of the victims.”
Meanwhile, KDKA has learned that Poplawski does not have access to a computer and all of this work is done for him outside of prison.