MILFORD - Jury selection in the case of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. Eric Matthew Frein has been scheduled to begin Thursday, March 9, 2017. Planned to take days, the selection process will be held in the Chester County Courthouse in West Chester, PA.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued an order in August 2016 that the jury will be pulled from Chester County. Bringing the jury from outside the local region answered requests by the Defense, which has been concerned with finding an impartial jury in Pike County given the publicity surrounding the case.
Jury selection on March 9-10 will allow for group questioning prior to picking individual jurors. This second phase is to commence Monday, March 13 at the courthouse in West Chester. Twelve jurors and two to four alternates will be needed.
The jury will have to be sequestered in Pike County. The trial may last “several weeks,” Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin stated.
Chester County calls about 29,000 of its citizens every year to serve on a jury, according to their County Jury Handbook.
According to Pennsylvania law, jurors are paid $9.00 per day for the first three days of jury service and $25.00 per day for every day afterward.
West Chester is about 140 miles southwest of Milford.
Eric Frein case
Designated as Case No.19- 2015, the defendant, Eric Frein has been lodged without bail in Pike County Correctional Facility since October 30, 2014. The Canadensis resident was arrested on that date following a 48-day manhunt.
As has been widely reported, Frein is charged in the homicide of Cpl. Bryon Dickson and the attempted homicide of Trooper Alex Douglass, who he shot outside the Blooming Grove Barracks of the PA State Police the night of September 12, 2014.
Frein was said to be modeling himself after Cold War soldiers of Eastern Europe and called for a “revolution” according to state police reports. The shootings and subsequent search through the Pocono woodlands ignited international media attention, marshaling of a veritable army of law enforcement (numbering approximately 1,000), closing of schools and ban on hunting in a wide swathe of game lands, a blow to the Pocono economy and a wave of public goodwill towards the victims’ families, PA State Police and law enforcement in general in northeast Pennsylvania. The search extended across much of Pike County and northern Monroe County; the suspect was located at an abandoned airport in Pocono Township.
His face appeared on billboards up and down the east coast after being named to the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.
Tonkin is seeking the death penalty.
Cpl. Dickson has since been memorialized through the naming of Exit 30 of Interstate 84 (which leads to the barracks on Route 402) after him in 2015, and the dedication of a memorial garden at the barracks on September 12, 2016.