Eric Frein, who killed one state trooper and wounded another, has been formally charged with two counts of terrorism in addition to other charges, including first degree murder. According to police, he said he committed his crimes to “wake people up” and bring major changes to the government.
On September 12, Eric Frein killed state trooper Bryon Dickson and critically injured another trooper, Alex Douglass, in an “ambush style” shooting, according to the Los Angeles Times. Police forces, at times as many as 1,000 officers, chased the killer for almost seven weeks before finally capturing him at abandoned airport on October 30 in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Eric was charged and arraigned on November 13. According to CNN, he was charged with terrorism because his actions constituted “a violent offense intending top influence the policy of the government by intimidation or coercion,” one that was “intending to affect the conduct of government.”
Frein wrote a letter to his parents, apologizing to them and explaining his motivations for the killing, saying it was intended to start a new revolution.
“Our nation is far from what it was and what it should be. There is so much wrong and on so many levels only passing through the crucible of another revolution can get us back the liberties we once had. I do not pretend to know what that revolution will look like or even if it would be successful.”
After the arrest, he told investigators he “wanted to make a change (in government) and that voting was insufficient to do so, because there was no one worth voting for.”
It’s not clear how he felt the shootings would ultimately lead to any political changes, but the charge of terrorism may be appropriate given the level of distress he caused the area.
According to Fox News, at times schools were closed, outdoor events were cancelled, roadblocks put in place, and small businesses suffered losses all as a result of the manhunt.
Nevertheless, the charges of terrorism might not stand. As Frein’s lawyer, James Swetz, explained, his client’s statements, which largely showed his political intentions, might be inadmissible in a court because a lawyer was not present. Swetz explained that police were violating his client’s rights, and that he has not been permitted to see his client yet, despite being hired by the man’s parents.
“Mr. Frein had a fifth amendment right and a sixth amendment right to have a message delivered to him that counsel had been retained by his family.”
For being charged with terrorism and murder, prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty.
[Image Credit: Brian Turner/Wikimedia Commons]