Jury to decide if killer of 3 Pa. cops gets death

By the Associated Press | June 27, 2011 | 7:15 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jurors must now decide if the man convicted of killing three Pittsburgh police officers deserves the death penalty.

The penalty phase of the murder trial for 24-year-old Richard Poplawski begins Monday. Two days earlier, an out-of-town jury convicted him of first-degree murder in the deaths of Officers Paul Sciullo II, Stephen Mayhle and Eric Kelly in April 2009.

The officers were the first three on the scene after Poplawski's mother called 911 about a domestic dispute she was having with her son over his dogs.

Authorities say Poplawski then donned a bulletproof vest and armed himself with an assault rifle, shotgun and handgun before police arrived.

Poplawski would be sentenced to life in prison if the jury does not unanimously approve the death penalty.