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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has charged East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld with homicide in the shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr.
Rose was shot three times as he ran away from a traffic stop.
But Wednesday’s press conference left some people with questions.
For instance, a magistrate allowed Officer Rosfeld to be released on $250,000 unsecured bond, something D.A. Zappala objected to.
Defense Attorney Ryan Tutera is not involved in the case but did help answer some of our questions.
He says in his experience, it is uncommon to have a have a murder suspect released on unsecured bond.
“It is highly unusual in a killing, in a homicide case to have a bond that’s unsecured,” said Tutera.
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Rose family attorney Fred Rabner also spoke about the unsecured bond at a press conference.
“Which means he will go home without paying a dollar out of his pocket,” Rabner said. “Without putting property up, just by signing his name.”
However, since then there’s been an update to the bond order to include electronic home monitoring for Officer Rosfeld.
As for the general charge of homicide against him, Tutera says most is not all homicides in Allegheny County are charged this way.
“If they charge as first degree murder, and they present it to a judge and jury all that’s at play is first degree murder,” said Tutera.
Under the umbrella of criminal homicide, there are five possibilities:
- First Degree – A premeditated, deliberate killing
- Second Degree – A homicide that happens during a robbery or other crime, which would not apply in this case
- Third Degree – Under Pennsylvania law, described as “all other kinds of murder.”
Tutera says: “Third degree also requires a finding of malice and forethought which is absent from the manslaughter statues.”
- Voluntary Manslaughter – A killing committed under sudden passion.
- Involuntary Manslaughter – When a death results from reckless behavior, such as drunk driving.
“The evidence supports third degree murder,” said Zappala at a press conference. “There’s no doubt about that in that my mind, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter. There’s no doubt about that, but we think we should have the right to argue first degree murder.”
And that matters because of the possible punishment if there’s a conviction.
“First degree is a mandatory life in Pennsylvania,” said Tutera. “Third degree carries a maximum of 20 to 30 years.”
Sentencing for manslaughter would be considerably less.