PHILADELPHIA – A man who admitted killing a police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury deadlocked between that sentence and the death penalty.
The jurors resumed deliberations Monday to try to reach agreement on the sentence of Rasheed Scrugs but reported in mid-afternoon that they couldn't agree. That left Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes no choice but to impose the life term.
Scrugs, 35, abruptly pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Officer John Pawlowski just as his trial was about to begin last month. He admitted shooting Pawlowski in February 2009 as he and another officer responded to a 911 call from a taxi driver.
Last week, the jurors reported a deadlock, but the judge told them to try again after the weekend. The jurors would have had to unanimously agree to sentence Scrugs to death.
The officer's widow, Kim Pawlowski, tearfully expressed anger and frustration at the decision to spare Scrugs.
"Justice was not served. My husband is nine feet in the ground, and he gets to breathe another breath of life," she said, holding the couple's son, who was born after his father was killed. "I hope he spends the rest of his life tortured by what he did to Johnnie."
Scrugs' mother had asked jurors to spare his life for the sake of his four children. Annah Abdul-Ghaffar said her son could still exert a positive influence on them.