Pennsylvania

Request to bar death option in trooper ambush case denied

This photo released by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Eric Matthew Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Pa.

This photo released by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Eric Matthew Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Pa.  (AP)

A Pennsylvania judge has denied a pair of defense requests that sought to prevent prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against a man charged with fatally ambushing a state police trooper near a rural barracks.

Attorneys for Eric Frein had said the death penalty option was unconstitutional. A Pike County judge rejected the claims on Friday.

Frein is charged with fatally shooting Cpl. Bryon Dickson II and wounding another trooper in September 2014.

He led police on a tense 48-day manhunt before U.S. marshals caught him about 30 miles from the shooting scene. Frein has pleaded not guilty.

Court documents say Frein spoke of wanting to start a revolution in a letter to his parents and called Dickson's slaying an "assassination" during a police interview.