Eric Frein, Pennsylvania

 

Updated: Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Eric Matthew Frein was scheduled to be executed at 7 pm local time, on Monday, June 22, 2020, at State Correctional Institute Rockview in Rockview, Pennsylvania. His execution has been stayed. Thirty-seven-year-old Eric is convicted of the murder of 38-year-old State Police Corporal Byron Dickson II, on September 12, 2014, at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania. Eric has spent the last five years on death row in Pennsylvania.

Eric was born in New Jersey. He attended Pocono Mountain High School in Pennsylvania, where he was a top scorer on the school rifle team. Eric was described as a “self-taught survivalist” and had previously worked for the Boy Scouts of America. Eric’s interest and knowledge in recreational military simulations also led to work in films, as both an actor and technical director. Eric had previously been arrested for burglary in New York.

On the evening of September 12, 2014, Eric Frein hid in the woods opposite the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania. Using a high-powered scope, attached to a semi-automatic rifle, Frein aimed at the door of the barracks. Frein opened fire as State Police Cpl. Byron Dickson II exited the building at the end of his shift. Dickson was shot twice, with one shot penetrating his bulletproof vest and traveling through his lung and out his back, and the other going in one shoulder, shattering his spine, and exiting through the other shoulder. He died shortly after being shot, with both shots being fatal.

Thirty-four-year-old Trooper Alex Douglass was just arriving for his shift when the shots rang out. He saw Dickson go down and ran to assist him. Douglass was shot through the hips, and has had over 18 surgeries, including the eventual amputation of his leg. After the shooting, Frein fled into the woods.

 

Frein became the only suspect in the shooting three days later when his partially submerged Jeep Cherokee was discovered near the site of the shooting. Inside the vehicle were several identifying documents. Further investigation into his internet history revealed that Frein wanted to start a revolution and that he had researched police stations and the protocol for an “officer down” call.

 

For 48 days, Frein led police on a manhunt through the woods in rugged terrain. The massive manhunt included local police, state police from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, in addition to help from the FBI, the US Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Tracking dogs were also used, however, Frein employed measures to specifically evade them. Several times during the massive manhunt, Frein was believed to be spotted by police officers, however, due to the rugged terrain, they were unable to approach him before he disappeared again.

 

Forty-eight days after the shooting, Frein was captured by US Marshals outside an unused airport hanger, nearly 30 miles from where the shooting occurred. He was unarmed at the time of his capture, however his weapons were later recovered.

 

Frein pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He was convicted and sentenced to death after a nearly two month trial.

 

Frein’s execution has been stayed by the Pike County Common Pleas Court.  Frein has not yet completed all of his appeals. Additionally, on Friday, February 13, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a moratorium on executions in the state, until he received and reviewed a report on capital punishment in the state, a report which was ordered in 2011.  In his announcement, he called the death penalty in Pennsylvania a "flawed system," "ineffective," "unjust," and “expensive." The report was concluded in June 2018, and upon review, Governor Wolf maintained the moratorium, stating that the report, which highlight several flaws in the capital punishment system, supports his decision.  Read more about the announcement here.  

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Bryon Dickson and for Alex Douglass. Pray for strength for the family of Eric Frein. Pray that if Eric is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any reason, that evidence will be provided prior to his execution. Pray that Eric may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

 

 

For more information regarding financial support, please click here.

Scroll