Out-of-county jury likely for Eric Frein trial

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MILFORD, PIKE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – There are new developments over who will potentially hear the death penalty trial of accused trooper killer Eric Frein.

The 33-year-old was brought to Pike County Court Friday morning as his upcoming trial moves one step closer.

The Pike County District Attorney and Frein’s lawyers announced they have come to an agreement and will now seek a change in jury venire.

That means Frein’s trial would still be held in Pike County but jurors from outside of the county would be brought in to decide Frein’s fate.

Frein’s attorneys originally wanted their client’s murder trial moved out of Milford all together because of extensive media coverage but now feel Frein can get a fair and impartial jury if one is brought in from a different county.

“Eric Frein’s case is no different than anybody else’s case. We look for a fair and impartial jury and that means a jury without preconceived notions,” defense attorney Michael Weinstein said.

District Attorney Ray Tonkin says bringing in a jury from outside Pike County may speed up how quickly a trial happens among other things.

“It keeps the trial here in Pike County so the citizens of Pike County can come and see the trial,” Tonkin said.

In downtown Milford, reaction was mixed.

“I can see the fairness on the one side but I can see the strangeness on the other side,” Ben Willis of Milford said.

Frein is facing charges for the ambush-style shooting outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove in September 2014.

Corporal Bryon Dickson was killed. Trooper Alex Douglass was injured.

While there is expected to be a lot of interest in the trial, some people say they wouldn’t want to sit in on it.

“It wouldn’t be interesting for me,” Joe Bell of Milford said.

Frein’s trial date has not been set but both sides have been trying to get one before the end of the year.

At this point, the District Attorney says it looks like a trial is inevitable.

“There have been no plea discussions,” Tonkin said.

Now the big question becomes which could would the jury come from that will hear the Frein trial?

That decision is unknown right now. The decision will most likely be made by state court officials with final approval coming from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The judge overseeing Frein’s case did not formally grant the change of jury venire motion Friday but said he expects it to be approved.

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