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Eric Frein appears before troopers’ families in court

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A Pike County judge found there is sufficient evidence to take accused cop killer Eric Frein to trial on all the charges against him, including murder and criminal homicide of a police officer.

The judge ruled the case will go to trial and the Pike County DA says he will pursue the death penalty.

In his first appearance in public in months, Frein looked pale and wore glasses, sitting through hours of testimony against him during the preliminary hearing at the Pike County Courthouse on Monday.

His attorney says he wasn't surprised by the hearing.

"He's a bright young man and he expected exactly what he heard," says his defense attorney. "So I didn't see any change in his demeanor."

The Commonwealth presented new evidence, with witnesses and investigators testifying. The DA showed surveillance video from the night of September 12, when Corporal Bryon Dickson was shot and killed, and Trooper Alex Douglass wounded, at the Blooming Grove Barracks. Each man is shown collapsing; the video shows Douglass dragging himself partway through the barracks lobby. Police are then shown retrieving Dickson's body.

Fellow state troopers and the families of both Dickson and Douglass attended the hearing.
Douglass is still recovering.

"He still had a long road to recovery, he has some surgeries ahead of him, but he's very upbeat and hopes one day to be able to return to work with the state police," says Lt. Col. Bivens of PA State Police.

Police and U.S. Marshals searched for the suspect, Frein, for 48. When they captured him at an airport hangar, a Marshal testified that Frein voluntarily told him where his guns were. Frein allegedly said he didn't want a kid to find them.

Witnesses also read from written entries allegedly by Frein and a letter to his parents. He talks about "revolution" and says he wants to do something, "a spark to ignite a fire in the hearts of men."

Weinstein said he doesn't know what Frein thinks about the death penalty risk and he doesn't know if they are working toward acquittal or simply saving his life until they see more evidence.

Weinstein described Frein as "a gentleman." "Very cooperative, very cordial, very gentlemanly, easy to talk to," Weinstein said

Frein will appear next in a formal arraignment to be set later this month. His lawyer says a trial likely will not start until 2016.