Jury selection in the murder trial of alleged Pennsylvania cop killer Eric Frein began Thursday.
Frein, 31, is charged with the murder of state police Cpl. Bryon Dickson and with wounding trooper Alex Douglass in a September 2014 sniper attack on a police station in Pike County. Prosecutors added two additional counts of terrorism to the charge after discovering a letter allegedly written by Frein that stated “another revolution can get us back to the liberties we once had.”
Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty in the case.
Frein pleaded not guilty to the charges.
After the attack, Frein led authorities on a 48-day manhunt through the Pocono Mountains, causing the area to go on lockdown. The entire chase, which included hundreds of police officers and law enforcement, cost authorities approximately $11 million.
Frein was eventually apprehended 90 miles north of Philadelphia outside of an abandoned airport hangar.
Judge Gregory H. Chelak ordered that jury selection take place on Thursday in Chester County, on the opposite side of the state, because of how the attack and ensuing manhunt affected Pike County.
According to court officials, 1,200 potential jurors make up the current jury pool. Though 300 were to report Thursday, only 104 potential jurors spent an hour inside the courtroom. Another 300 were expected Friday, though that number could dwindle.
About two-thirds of the potential jurors stated that they knew of the case and that more than a third of the pool said they were opposed to the death penalty because of moral or religious grounds, the Associated Press reported. Frein wore a suit and tie to court and his parents were also in attendance, according to the AP report.
Chester County Court Administrator Patricia Norwood-Foden said that if the panel is not selected this week, the court will go through jury selection again on Thursday and Friday of next week.
“We’re just preparing ourselves and making sure we have enough jurors because we anticipated there would be a number of folks who had some hardship issues,” Norwood-Foden said.
Attorneys are expected to begin questioning individual jurors on Monday.
In a Dec. 2014 restraining order filing, Frein blamed Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph and alleged mobster Joey Merlino for the murders. In his complaint, Frein claimed the two had framed him.