How Philadelphia Jury Deadlocked Over Cop Killer’s Fate


Why did a Philadelphia jury of eight women and four men deadlock this week over the fate of Rasheed Scrugs, the admitted killer of Police Officer John Pawlowski? The Philadelphia Inquirer explores that question. Juror Fred Kiehm, 49, described the atmosphere during deliberations as “horrible.” He says, “It was extremely tense [] screaming, yelling, at one point I thought someone might break furniture,” Kiehm said. From the first hour the 12 met on Nov. 2, said two jurors, there was never a chance for a verdict. The deadlock – seven for life in prison, five for death by lethal injection – was already set. The reason for the deadlock is difficult to determine.

One juror simply refused to take part in the deliberations, remaining silent or walking out to the lavatory. Others, Kiehm said, were swayed by one of Scrugs’ “mitigating factors” for life in prison – four sons – whom the jurors did not want to grow up with a father on death row. Prosecutors thought the case seemed to be what the death penalty was made for. Scrugs, 35, a paroled robber who last year killed Pawlowski, 25, announced before the slaying that he would kill a police officer, then pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. More than a few people were shocked when Scrugs was sentenced Monday to life in prison because the 12 Philadelphians picked to sit in judgment could not reach a decision.

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