Former Philadelphia police officer Frank Tepper has been held for trial on charges he murdered a neighbor during an altercation outside his house party in November.
In a preliminary hearing Wednesday, a judge ordered that 43-year-old Tepper be bound over for trial on the general murder charge in the Nov. 21 shooting of Billy Panas Jr. in Port Richmond.
“My boy didn’t bother nobody. He didn’t have a gun, he didn’t hurt nobody,” said Panas’ father, William Panas Sr. outside of the courthouse Wednesday. “[Tepper]…murdered my son execution style. For that he deserves everything he gets. Hopefully life or death.”
Tepper, who was off-duty at the time, claimed his gun went off after being jumped while trying to break up a fight that spilled out from a party at his house. His lawyer still claims that Tepper was acting in self defense.
But people who witnessed the shooting provided a very different account, saying Tepper simply pulled out his gun and shot Panas as the young man tried to get up off the ground. Panas was unarmed and came across the melee while walking past Tepper’s house, according to witnesses.
Police initially said Tepper was trying to break up a fight but he was later fired following an internal investigation and public protests demanding justice.
Department officials appeared at a news conference with District Attorney Seth Williams to announce the charges last week.