The man accused of killing three Pittsburgh officers a year ago will be tried on a multitude of charges beginning Oct. 12 over the objections of the attorney assigned to defend him, an Allegheny County judge has ruled.
The public defender assigned to the case had complained that she didn't have enough time to prepare a defense for Richard Poplawski.
Because of the case's extensive pre-trial publicity, jury selection will begin three weeks earlier. Jurors will be brought in from outside the region and sequestered, the Post-Gazette reports.
Three officers responding to a 911 call at Poplawski's home on April 4 were killed after he allegedly opened fire on them.
Officers Eric Kelly, Paul Sciullo and Stephen Mayhle were killed in the shooting, as Poplawski is reported to have shot nearly 800 rounds of ammunition during the 40-minute shootout that involved the department's tactical unit. A Pittsburgh police sniper ended the shootout.
A year after the ambush, the department has begun issuing AR-type rifles and will phase out shotguns. AR training began in March, and command staff expects 30-40 percent of the 910-officer force to qualify to use them, the Tribune-Review reports.
Alleghany County is also rolling out a $10 million Tiburon dispatching system that allows 911 operators to send information directly to patrol cars with computer terminals rather than using public radio transmissions that could be heard by those intending harm to officers, the newspaper reports.
New tributes to the fallen officers include a baseball field being re-named in honor of Officer Eric Kelly and marble monuments with plaques at a Highland Park station.