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Families Of Fallen Officers Offer Emotional Testimony

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The prosecution's final witness testified late Monday in the penalty phase of the Richard Poplawski murder trial at the Allegheny County Courthouse downtown.

Poplawski was convicted of first-degree murder last week in the 2009 shooting deaths of Pittsburgh Police Officers Steven Mayhle, Paul Sciullo II and Eric Kelly.

The jury will now decide whether he'll be put to death by lethal injection or face life in prison.

The last prosecution witness of the day was Shandra Mayhle, the widow of fallen Officer Mayhle. She described her husband as her best friend, the man she wanted to grow old with.

The Mayhles and their two daughters celebrated the fallen officer's 29th birthday the night before he was gunned down with the two other officers in Stanton Heights.

Jennifer Mayhle, one of the couple's daughters, wrote a note she left at the cemetery where her dad was buried. She wrote: "Why did you leave us, you know that we miss you. Love, Jennifer."

Kelly's widow, Marena, told jurors that she's lost 60 pounds since her husband was killed, she can't eat or sleep normally and she suffers from anxiety attacks.

Kelly said their youngest daughter is in North Carolina because she's having difficulties coping now.

Also, Paul Sciullo of Bloomfield testified that the day his son was gunned down, a part of him died.

He gave his son a card on his 36th birthday, saying in part: "Dear Paul, what a fine man you have become. You are everything in life I wish I was."

The defense will put Poplawski family members on the stand Tuesday in a bid to avoid the death penalty.

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