HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court hears arguments on behalf of convicted cop-killer Eric Frein. This comes more than a year after Frein was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Under Pennsylvania law, because he was sentenced to death his case is automatically reviewed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Eric Frein's attorney wants the case appealed and retried, this time without a video tape confession.
"The trooper understood, he'll talk to us about the rifle but you don't want to talk to us about any crime," said Frein's attorney William Ruzzo. "That means any crime."
Ruzzo believes Frein's Miranda Rights were violated when he confessed to killing Cpl. Brian Dickson and injuring trooper Alex Douglass. Ruzzo says Frein told troopers he didn't want to talk about any crimes, but told troopers about the rifle in an abandoned hanger he was hiding in. Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin argues Frein chose to freely make statements to police. He says, police are allowed to go back and question someone unless they invoke the right to an attorney.
"The interrogation interview, when that stops is up to the defendant," said Tonkin. "He could have said, ‘I do not want to talk anymore.' It was the defendant himself that brought back up the death of Brian Dickson."
The other issue brought up was Frein not being able to speak with an attorney the night he was arrested. Tonkin says the attorney trying to talk with Frein was not clear on whom he was representing.
"He indicated that the family retained him to go check on Eric," said Tonkin. "So the question in the trooper's mind when they receive that phone call at a barracks far away from Blooming Grove barracks is well, ‘who does he represent?’
Ruzzo says not letting that attorney speak to Frein is an issue under the state constitution. If the justices find nothing wrong, he plans to file a petition to the United States Supreme Court. However, Tonkin believes the only problem that could be found is harmless error, and that is not enough to try a new case.