Questions about cop killer's parole

PHILADELPHIA - September 25, 2008 - He was the man who shot and killed Philadelphia police officer Patrick McDonald, and wounded officer Richard Bowes on Tuesday.

In 1998, Giddings was sentenced for an armed robbery in which he shot the victim.

Giddings had completed 10 years of a 12 year sentenced when he was paroled in August.

Click here to read the Parole Board's decision He could have been sentenced to 45 years in prison, but former common pleas judge Lynne-Bennett Hamlin gave him a shorter sentence. District Attorney Lynne Abraham says she was misguided and lenient.

"You could look through him like an x-ray," Abraham said. "And what does Judge Hamlin do? She gives him a low-ball sentence, when she could have given him enough of a prison sentence that could have prevented him from hurting anybody."

Judge Hamlin left the bench in 2002. Action News was unable to contact her Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Action News learned the man who bought the gun used in the killing, identified as Jason Mack of South Carolina, has been arrested. He's expected to be arraigned Friday morning in Columbia, South Carolina.

"Mack is claiming he just buys guns, and they were stolen in a burglary," Abraham said.

The question now is, what can be done to prevent more tragedies like this?

Philadelphia's city council has tried to enact tougher gun laws, but says the Pennsylvania General Assembly won't allow it.

"Every member of the General Assembly is up for re-election," said City Councilman Darrell Clarke. "And before each person casts their vote, they need to ask their legislator on what their position is on passing some good-sense gun legislation.

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