The trial of the man accused of killing three Pittsburgh Police officers in a 2009 ambush at his mother's home began today with the prosecutor calling Richard Poplawski a coward.

Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli also told Dauphin County jurors he expected the trial to last about two weeks, and said the case was about "fallen heroes and potentially fallen heroes."

Officers from an array of departments donned uniforms and came to attention this morning outside the Allegheny County Courthouse as the families of the three slain officers entered the building.

Richard Poplawski, 24, fatally shot the officers on April 4, 2009 at his home following a 911 call by his mother, who was angry that Poplawski's dog urinated inside the house.

Officer Paul J. Sciullo II was the first officer to respond, and was shot in the head after entering the house. Officer Stephen Mayhle arrived moments later as backup as was also shot in the head. Officer Eric Kelly responded to their distress calls from home two blocks away and was "assassinated" in his SUV.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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