Man Charged With Gunning Down State Trooper Asks to Move Trial

Lawyers for a survivalist charged with fatally ambushing a Pennsylvania state police trooper outside a rural barracks asked Tuesday for his trial to be moved out of the area, citing extensive publicity about the case.

Eric Frein can't get a fair trial in Pike County, in the Pocono Mountains, due to heavy news coverage about the 2014 ambush, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

His lawyers' motion also cited the fact that District Attorney Ray Tonkin referred to Frein as a "murderer" in campaign mailers last year, thus surrounding Frein "with an aura of guilt."

Tonkin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the filing.

Eric Frein, 32, is charged with opening fire outside the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12, 2014, killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding Trooper Alex Douglass. The accused gunman led police on a tense 48-day manhunt through the northeastern Pennsylvania woods before U.S. marshals caught him outside an abandoned airplane hangar about 30 miles from the shooting scene.

Frein spoke of wanting to start a revolution in a letter to his parents and called Dickson's slaying an "assassination" in a police interview after his capture, according to court documents.

He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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