Cop killing suspect to stand trial

March 26, 2009 3:59:11 PM PDT
The man accused of killing a Philadelphia police officer was ordered to stand trial Thursday.Following a hearing that lasted 2 hours, Rasheed Scrugs was ordered to stand trial on all charges in connection with the murder of Officer John Pawlowski in February.

RELATED SLIDESHOW: The life of Officer Pawlowski

Pawlowski's pregnant widow was in the courtroom to see her husband's accused killer for the first time. She was joined by dozens of police officers who packed the courtroom.

Scrugs needed a walker to stand and move around. He's still recovering from gunshot wounds sustained the night investigators say, he shot and killed a cop.

Hack taxi driver Emmanuel Cesar is the man who made a 911 call after a confrontation with defendant Scrugs at Broad and Olney the night of Friday, February 13th.

Cesar testified that Scrugs said: "If you call the cops I will shoot you and the cops."

When Officer John Pawlowski and his partner arrived, Cesar said they told Scrugs to take his hands out of his coat.

Cesar told the court : "Scrugs lifted his coat and I heard a boom."

Another hack driver, Jean Paul told, the court: "I saw fire come from the pocket of his jacket."

The courtroom was packed with rank and file officers Thursday and some of the top brass. Officer Pawlowski's pregnant widow and his family were front row, frequently weeping during the gripping testimony.

Mark Kline, Pawlowski's partner that night told the court: "He looked at John and fired out of his right pocket. I saw a muzzle flash. John collapsed."

Officer Pawlowski, soon died from 3 wounds from a .357 magnum.

The D.A.'s office rejected a defense request to waive this hearing altogether.

"They feel that they, for some reason, have to put on a 'dog and pony show' for the public and their image," said said defense attorney Lee Mandell. "I think it would have been easier for everybody if they had just agreed to the waiver. There would have been no problems, emotionally, going through this thing again."

"It's a tragic case. If he calls it a 'dog and pony show,' I call it 'We put the evidence on of an ambush of a Philadelphia police officer," said Assistant D.A. Ed McCann.

Scrugs' family left court without comment after the hearing. They had just heard Judge Patrick Dugan hold him for trial. He told Scrugs: "You are a domestic urban terrorist who ambushed police officers responding to a citizen's call for help."

Scrugs' lawyer says he will plead his client 'not guilty' at a hearing scheduled for next month. The prosecutor says this may very well be a death penalty case.

Pawlowski was the seventh Philadelphia police officer killed in the line of duty in less than three years.

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