Guilty plea at start of Phila. cop killing trial

Officer John Pawlowski (left) and Rasheed Scrugs (right)
November 3, 2010 8:33:48 AM PDT
The man accused of killing a Philadelphia police officer entered a guilty plea just as the trial was set to begin on Thursday morning.

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The jury had just been sworn in when Rasheed Scrugs, 35, stood up and said "I plead guilty to first-degree murder and I am sorry."

Scrugs faced a first-degree murder case for allegedly killing Officer John Pawlowski during a shootout that began with a taxicab robbery in February 2009 at Broad and Olney.

After Scrugs' statement, the jury was then escorted out and the judge asked Scrugs to confirm what he had just said.

Scrugs again said he was pleading guilty and that he was doing it on the advice of his lawyer.

The judge then said "Let's be absolutely clear. You're saying you intentionally, deliberately shot Officer John Pawlowski three times?"

To that Scrugs said "Yes."

The District Attorney's office said it will now move into the penalty phase of this case, saying they will continue to ask for the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Scrugs threatened a cab driver then threatened to shoot police who arrived if the cabbie alerted authorities.

Police say he shot the 25-year-old Pawlowski in the chest after being ordered to take his hands out of his pockets.

Scrugs was also wounded in the shootout and arrested at the scene.

Also in court was the family of Officer Pawlowski as well as spouses of other fallen officers. Among them was Pawlowski's widow, Kim, who left court without comment.


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