The following letter was received via USPS on August 11, 2014 from Richard Andrew Poplawski. Mr. Poplawski was tried, convicted, and sentenced in Pennsylvania to death by lethal injection in 2011 for fatally shooting three Pittsburgh police officers on April 4, 2009. He asserts that unanswered questions remain in the case.
For example, witness testimony suggesting the presence of multiple shooters on the scene was overlooked, Poplawski himself was under the influence of psychotropic medication, and the formal and extrajudicial proceedings leading to his conviction appear to have been flawed.
Poplawski’s remarks are of particular interest since a majority of alleged “mass shooters” seldom survive to explain the circumstances surrounding such events.-JFT
[Image Credit: WPXI.com]
Richard Andrew Poplawski
Box 244 #KB7354
Gaterford, PA 19426
March 22, 2014
Sir or Madame:
With the approach of the five year anniversary of the April 4th, 2009 shootings that claimed the lives of 3 Pittsburgh police officers, I have been queried by reporters in the region for an interview or a general statement. The following is submitted for your consideration to be published as part of your anniversary coverage.
In reviewing questions from the media about my involvement in the April 4th, 2009 shootings, I notice that they all presume the absolute, unquestioned truth of the state’s version of the event. But I’m telling you this: the headlines ought to read “Five years later, questions remain unanswered.”
First you must know that there are three competing and conflicting stories. There’s the prosecution’s theory as presented by the media; there’s the story I fed police on April 5; and then there’s the story told by incontrovertible physical evidence.
They can’t all be true. Here’s one of the many discrepancies: What’s with the shotgun wadding present in the rear bedroom? That can only happen if a shotgun was fired in that direction, but the state’s theory doesn’t even account for it. How did it get there?
In the rear bedroom they also found a lone spent casing which did not match any weapon on scene (including officers’) nor any weapon I’ve ever possessed. Where did it come from? Whose was it?
Did you know that Officer McManaway testified under oath that there were “at least two shooters”? He had heard the reports of the man running out of the back door with a gun. It is a fact that witnesses saw a hooded figure escaping into the woods. Why not put the witnesses on the stand?
According to the Commonwealth, I shot Officer Sciullo through the head with a twelve gauge shotgun slug, but it didn’t cause a blood spatter on the wall or the front door? And then, if he’s down, how can you explain the two bullets that entered–from some distance, as determined by lack of powder burns around the wounds–into the back of his head? What about the wound to his left side, traveling rightward? There’s nothing but a wall to his left. At least 3 of Paul Sciullo’s 8 wounds are inexplicable if you buy the state’s version. They say he was shot–with four different caliber weapons–from the front, rear, left and right. All while down. By a lone gunman. How?
Did you know that none of the weapons on scene were actually fingerprinted? Or if they were, the prosecution never disclosed the results. By the time the guns were displayed at trial, they were cleaned up an oiled. Why?
Consider the neighbor who testified that, at the same exact time he was supposedly watching me fire a rifle from my porch down at an officer in the front yard, something struck his home very near the window he was watching from. Investigators pulled the projectile from the siding. It was a shotgun slug. So I fired a rifle at an officer and a shotgun at a witness simultaneously?
My trial was rife with prosecutorial misconduct, abuses of judicial discretion, and grossly ineffective assistance of defense counsel. Remember how the defense called zero witnesses? Interestingly, neither the state nor the defense called the only other person remaining in that house–my mother. Neither side wanted to talk about USMC Recruit Depot Parris Island. The defense did not even inform the jury of the massive amount of Xanax found in my blood. Why not?
We now know that the jury was permitted to break sequester to go on a recreational field trip through a town whose bars advertised signs: “Free fries if Poplawski fries”. We know now that a juror fell asleep in the middle of proceedings. We know that the Court permitted me to be walked the long way through the courthouse hallways, parading me in front of media cameras, all while decrying prejudicial pretrial publicity. We know that the prosecution was permitted to step over the line again and again, and that there was literally no defense mounted.
It’s all public record now. Read the transcripts. Look at the exhibits. Answer all the questions, and then ask yourself: What, if anything, is the meaning of the term “reasonable doubt”?