Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill in Killing of Officer - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill in Killing of Officer



    Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill in Killing of Officer
    New Castle County Police
    David Salasky is charged with the murder of Sgt. Joseph Szczerba.

    A Wilmington man charged with fatally stabbing a New Castle County police officer has pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the crime.

    Thirty-four-year-old David Salasky Jr. entered the plea Monday to first-degree murder in the slaying of 44-year-old Officer Joseph Szczerba (ZER-bah) in September 2011.

    Salasky entered the plea as jury selection was under way in a trial. He faces an automatic sentence of two life terms plus an additional 153 years.

    Superior Court Judge William C. Carpenter did not immediately set a sentencing date.

    Fellow Officers Tried to Save Sgt. Szczerba

    [PHI] Fellow Officers Tried to Save Sgt. Szczerba
    Police Sgt. Joseph Szczerba was stabbed to death while chasing a suspect. He's the first New Castle County officer to die in the line of duty since 1972.
    (Published Monday, May 20, 2013)

    Szczerba, an 18-year veteran, was stabbed after he caught up to Salasky during a foot chase. Szczerba was rushed to Christiana Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

    A judge last week denied several pretrial motions by the defense, including motions to suppress evidence and to preclude prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against a severely mentally ill defendant.

    According to court records, Salasky has both a long criminal history and a history of mental health issues. Defense attorneys have suggested that he was delusional and high on mind-altering chemicals when Szczerba was killed.

    Two other officers were injured in the incident, but their injuries weren't life-threatening.

    "It is a devastating loss to our department," said Cpl. John Weglarz. "Just like anywhere when they lose a brother or a sister."


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