A Philadelphia hip hop artist convicted of shooting and killing a female police officer will be executed next year.
Christopher Roney was convicted of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Lauretha Vaird Jan. 2, 1996. Governor Tom Corbett signed an execution warrant for Roney on Friday. He is scheduled to be executed Jan. 8, 2015. Executions in Pennsylvania are carried out by lethal injection.
Roney, 44, was found guilty of first-degree murder and other offenses Oct. 30, 1996. The jury also returned a death verdict Nov. 1, 1996 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
On Jan. 2, 1996, around 8:20 a.m., Roney, Ernest Canty and Warren McGlone tried to rob a PNC Bank at 4710 Rising Sun Avenue in Philadelphia. As the assistant manager arrived at the bank, Canty grabbed her as well as the bank manager and forced them inside at gunpoint. Roney then grabbed the head bank teller as she arrived.
A nearby business contacted police. Officer Lauretha Vaird, a nine-year veteran with the 25th District, was the first officer to arrive at the scene. As she entered the bank, Roney opened fire, striking her in the abdomen, according to officials. He and the other two men then fled the scene as other officers arrived.
Vaird, a 43-year-old single mother of two boys, died from her injuries. She was the first Philadelphia female police officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Roney and his two accomplices were arrested after police received statements from eyewitnesses.
Prior to his arrest, Roney was a hip hop artist who released two solo albums under the stage name “Cool C” in 1989 and 1990 as well as an album with the hip hop group C.E.B. in 1993.
Roney was recording a comeback EP at the time of Vaird's death. McGlone, who performed under the stage name "Steady B" was another member of C.E.B. while Canty was also a local hip hop artist.
Aside from Roney, Governor Corbett also signed execution warrants for Mark Duane Edwards, who was convicted of murder in the shooting deaths of a husband, wife and their pregnant teen daughter in 2002 as well as Dennis Reed, who was convicted in the shooting death of his girlfriend and mother of his son in 2001.
The three execution warrants signed Friday were Corbett’s 41st, 42nd and 43rd warrants signed since he took office.