George Hitcho, Jr., Pennsylvania

 

Updated: Monday, June 27, 2016 11:46 am EDT

George Hitcho, Jr., was scheduled to be executed at 7 pm EDT, on Friday, July 1, 2016, at the Rockview State Correctional Institute in Rockview, Pennsylvania. His execution has been stayed. Fifty-year-old George has been convicted of the murder of 31-year-old police officer Robert Lasso on August 11, 2011. George has spent the last four years on Pennsylvania’s death row.

George worked as a carpenter prior to his arrest and at one point had owned his own construction business. George stated that he regularly attended a Lutheran Church prior to his arrest. He has two sons and a step-daughter. He has previously been arrested several times for various reasons, including marijuana possession and drunk driving. George had previously been arrested by Officer Lasso in 2006.

Around 5:00 pm on August 11, 2011, George Hitcho and his neighbor got into argument over his driving. Allegedly, Hitcho pulled down his pants and “mooned” his neighbor, who then called the police, while Hitcho stalked to his house across a small alley.

Freemansburg Police Officer Robert Lasso responded to the emergency call. He was in a marked vehicle and dressed in full uniform, with the word “POLICE” emblazoned across his back. Officer Lasso first spoke to the neighbor before going to Hitcho’s backyard in an attempt to talk with Hitcho. Two other witnesses heard Officer Lasso repeatedly requesting Hitcho to talk with him. They also heard Hitcho’s dogs barking. At some point, Officer Lasso called and requested back-up.

 

His call was answered by Police Chief George Bruneio, who arrived minutes after Officer Lasso made his request. Chief Bruneio spoke to the two witnesses to obtain Officer Lasso’s location. He heard a commotion in Hitcho’s back yard. Upon approaching the gate to the back yard, Chief Bruneio witnesses Officer Lasso fending off two large, snarling dogs. Officer Lasso’s gun was still in his holster, however, he had his taser in his hand, pointed skywards.

 

Chief Bruneio shouted at Officer Lasso to shoot the dogs. With his taser still pointed skyward, a shot rang out and Officer Lasso collapsed. Hitcho was standing inside the back door with a shotgun, which had jammed after shooting Officer Lasso. Chief Bruneio was able to convince Hitcho to lay down his weapon. He then arrested Hitcho. Officer Lasso was shot in the base of the neck and died almost instantly.

 

Hitcho attempted to claim that he was defended his property (dogs) and that the police had no right to step foot onto his property.

 

He was charged and convicted of murder and sentenced to death in May of 2012.

 

George Hitcho’s execution has been stayed by the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas to allow time for George to complete his appeals.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Robert Lasso. Please pray for strength for the family of George. Please pray that George may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

 

 

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