A Show of Force

Sgt. Liczbinski family and fellow officers crowd courtroom.

More than 70 Philadelphia police officers packed a courtroom Friday morning, along with the family of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, one of four officers killed in the line of duty this year.

They were there because the two men accused in Sgt. Liczbinski's murder were asking for the most serious charge -- first-degree murder -- to be dropped.

Those suspects, Levon Warner and Eric DeShawn Floyd, didn't come to court, but the high-powered rifle police believed was used to kill Sgt. Liczbinski, was brought in.

Liczbinski was shot answering a robbery call at a bank inside a grocery store in Port Richmond.

The man police think pulled the trigger that day back in May, Howard Cain, is dead. He was shot by police during a chase after the robbery.

The defense argued on Friday that because neither Warner or Floyd is accused of being the triggerman, the first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges should be dismissed.

Judge Benjamin Lerner rejected the motion. He did grant defense motions to dismiss the attempted murder charges against Floyd and Warner involving witnesses menaced with a gun during the bank robbery and escape. 

In January, Judge Lerner will rule on whether the two suspects should be tried separately.

Sgt. Liczbinski was shot and killed May 3rd, when he responded to an armed robbery at a bank inside a grocery store on Aramingo Avenue.

It was one of the most emotionally charged police killings this year. People in the neighborhood cried at the horror of what happened that day.

Liczbinski was a 12-year veteran of the force. He was married with three children.

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