MILFORD, Pa. (AP) — An out-of-town jury will decide the fate of a survivalist charged with fatally ambushing a state police trooper near a rural barracks, prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed Friday.
The stipulation keeps Eric Frein's murder trial in Pike County, where he is charged with opening fire outside the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12, 2014, killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding Trooper Alex Douglass.
Frien led police on a tense 48-day manhunt through the northeastern Pennsylvania woods before U.S. marshals caught him outside an abandoned airplane hangar about 30 miles from the shooting scene, prosecutors said.
He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Defense lawyers had asserted that Frein couldn't get a fair trial in Pike County, in the Poconos, because of the heavy news coverage about the ambush. His attorneys also said that Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin distributed campaign fliers last year that referenced the case and surrounded Frein "with an aura of guilt."
With Friday's stipulation, the defense dropped its bid to get the trial moved elsewhere. A judge told the sides at a pretrial hearing that he will likely sign off on it but needs to work out the details with state court administrators.
Frein, 33, spoke of wanting to start a revolution in a letter to his parents and called Dickson's slaying an "assassination" in a police interview after his capture, according to court documents. His attorneys are trying to get the videotaped statement suppressed.