Prosecutor to seek death penalty for Eric Frein in trooper's killing
LORDS VALLEY, Pa. -- Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for Eric Frein, the man who evaded capture for more than six weeks after allegedly killing a Pennsylvania state trooper and wounding another.
Frein was arrested Thursday evening by U.S. marshals in an abandoned airplane hangar Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. A law enforcement source told CBS News that Frein was carrying a handgun and a sniper rifle at the time, and gave up without a fight.
Frein, 31, is charged with opening fire outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks on Sept. 12, killing Trooper Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding Trooper Alex Douglass. Frein faces first-degree murder and various other offenses, including two counts of possession of weapons of mass destruction.
He is due to be arraigned in Milford, Pennsylvania Friday morning.
The handcuffs used to restrain Frein during his arrest belonged to the trooper he allegedly killed, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said at a press conference Thursday night. Frein is being held at the barracks where the ambush took place nearly seven weeks ago.
Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin said he will seek the death penalty against Frain, who gave himself up when surrounded by marshals.
"He did not just give up because he was tired," state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said. "He gave up because he was caught."
State police said they believe Frein, a self-taught survivalist, has a longstanding hatred of law enforcement and wanted to target police, not the general public. The ambush attack landed Frein on the FBI's most wanted list, and police were authorized to use deadly force.
Multiple sightings of Frein were reported over the course of the 48-day manhunt in the Poconos. He was always spotted from a distance, with the rugged terrain allowing him to keep officers at bay. Police said he appeared to be treating the manhunt as a game.
Saying Frein was armed and extremely dangerous, officials had closed schools and urged residents to be alert and cautious as officers used dogs, thermal imaging technology and other tools in their search. At times police ordered nearby residents to stay inside or prevented them from returning home.
They pursued countless tips, and closed in on an area around Frein's parents' home in Canadensis after he used his cellphone to try contacting them, and the signal was traced to a location about three miles away.
Trackers found items they believe Frein hid or abandoned in the woods -- including soiled diapers, empty packs of Serbian cigarettes, an AK-47-style assault rifle and ammunition, and two pipe bombs that were functional and capable of causing significant damage. They also discovered a journal, allegedly kept by Frein and found in a bag of trash at a hastily abandoned campsite, that offered a chilling account of the ambush and his subsequent escape into the woods. The journal's author described Dickson as falling "still and quiet" after being shot twice.
Frein allegedly held anti-law enforcement views for many years and expressed them both online and to people who knew him. But the source of his alleged vendetta remains unclear. His criminal record appears limited to a decade-old misdemeanor case involving items stolen from a World War II re-enactors event in upstate New York, for which he spent 109 days in jail.
Police found a U.S. Army manual called "Sniper Training and Employment" in Frein's bedroom at his parents' house, and his father, a retired Army major, told authorities that his son is an excellent marksman who "doesn't miss," according to a police affidavit. Authorities believe he had been planning a confrontation with police for years, citing information they found on a computer used by Frein.
Frein belonged to a military re-enactor's group, playing the part of a Serbian solder. He had a small role in a 2007 movie about a concentration camp survivor and helped with props and historical references on a documentary about World War I.
At his funeral, Dickson was called a devoted husband and father and "impeccable" ex-Marine who took his work seriously but also enjoyed making wooden toys for his young sons and finding humor in everyday situations. Trooper Alex Douglass was shot in the pelvis and critically injured in the ambush, which took place during a late-night shift change.
Douglass remained hospitalized until Oct. 16, when he was discharged to a rehabilitation facility.
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