Suspect in Philly officer's death takes stand

July 21, 2010 4:21:50 PM PDT
A defendant who had to be removed from his murder trial last month after punching his lawyer returned to the courtroom Wednesday and testified that he was asleep at the time of the police officer's killing and denied any involvement in the shooting or the supermarket bank robbery that preceded it.

The judge then again removed Eric Floyd from the courtroom after he refused to answer most questions on cross-examination.

Floyd, 35, and co-defendent Levon Warner, 41, could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the May 3, 2008, death of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. Floyd and Warner were in the getaway vehicle when suspect Howard Cain got out and shot Liczbinski, who was pursuing them after a bank robbery in the city's Port Richmond section, prosecutors said. Cain later died in a shootout with police.

"I have nothing to tell (jurors) about May 3, 2008," Floyd said when asked by his current defense attorney, Earl Kauffman, what he wished to say.

Asked what he was doing at the time of the crime, Floyd responded: "I was sleeping."

On cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Jude Conroy, Floyd said he wasn't driving an SUV during the chase before Liczbinski's killing and was not involved in a carjacking before the robbery. He said he did not give a statement to police, did not know Levon Warner and did not remember a bank robbery.

"You keep saying I did stuff," Floyd, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, told Conroy from the witness stand.

When Conroy brought out a high-powered rifle that police said was used in the killing, Floyd said he hadn't seen it before.

Eventually, Floyd - speaking in a low mumbling tone - stopped answering questions from the prosecution.

"Are you refusing to answer any more questions from counsel?" Common Pleas Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes asked.

"I'm done answering questions," Floyd responded.

"You have forfeited your right to testify, period," Hughes said, before Floyd was escorted back to the holding cell where he has been watching the trial remotely.