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Pennsylvania Announces Execution Date For Eric Frein In Deadly Ambush Of State Trooper In 2014, But Moratorium Remains

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A notice of execution has been signed for a sniper who killed one Pennsylvania state trooper and wounded another in a nighttime ambush outside their barracks 5 1/2 years ago, although the notice will have no immediate effect due to the governor's moratorium on executions. Thirty-six-year-old Eric Frein was convicted in the 2014 murder of Cpl. Bryon Dickson II outside the Blooming Grove barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Another trooper, Alex Douglass, was badly wounded. After the ambush, Frein led authorities on a 48-day manhunt through the rugged Pocono Mountains before U.S. marshals caught him at an abandoned airplane hangar.

Under state law, if the governor doesn't sign a warrant of execution within a certain time, the secretary of the Department of Corrections has 30 days to issue a notice of execution. Corrections officials said Secretary John Wetzel did so Monday and set June 22 as the execution date.

Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has said he will grant a reprieve each time an execution is scheduled until the state Legislature addresses problems identified in a 2018 report. Wolf has called the system "ineffective, unjust and expensive."

The state has only executed three inmates since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970s, and all three had given up on their appeals.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.

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