(Provided to The News Eagle, April 4, 2017, 1:24 p.m.)

MILFORD - State Police Cpl. Byron Dickson spent the last moments of his life lying on his back on the sidewalk in front of the state police Blooming Grove barracks.

MILFORD - State Police Cpl. Byron Dickson spent the last moments of his life lying on his back on the sidewalk in front of the state police Blooming Grove barracks.
The U.S. Marine veteran, who had been with the state police for seven years, had been about to head home to his wife and children ages 7 and 5, having completed his eight-hour shift on Friday night, Sept. 12, 2014.
He was exiting the glass-door entrance/exit to the barracks when a sniper's bullet came from the woods on the other side of Route 402, punching through his bullet-proof vest and traveling through his lung and out of his back. Dickson yelled out in pain, collapsing immediately onto his back, at which point another bullet then tore through one shoulder, shattered his spine and exited through his other shoulder.
Dickson now lay gurgling out his last words in efforts to call for help, warn his colleagues of the danger or both.
To his right were the U.S. and Pennsylvania flags atop their poles in the barracks parking lot, beyond which were the darkened woods from which the sniper's bullets had come. To his left, visible inside the barracks entrance/exit, a scared, frantic Police Communications Operator Nicole Palmer, herself having almost been hit by a bullet, looked out at him, trying to phone for help.
"Above was the rural night sky with the stars in the heavens above," Pike County Assistant District Attorney Bruce DeSarro, speaking in a slightly wavering voice, told a somber-faced, attentive jury in his opening statement Tuesday, the first day of trial of the man charged with firing those bullets into Dickson and fellow trooper Alex Douglas. "Then and there, on that sidewalk, Cpl. Dickson's watch, along with his years of service on behalf of you and me, came to an end."
The public and news media packed the silent courtroom, listening as DeSarro revisited the scene of Dickson's murder with the aid of images presented on a screen before the jury. Among those sitting in court were law enforcement officers wearing dark-colored suits and white badges, each of which contained a tan-colored star and a different number within a blue circle.
Sitting quietly with his attorneys at the defense table was the accused, Eric Frein, dressed in his own suit and tie.
Frein is charged with killing Dickson and wounding Douglas, who was coming in to start the next shift as Dickson was ending the previous shift. Douglas heard the gunshots, saw Dickson collapsed on the ground and rushed over to help when Douglas himself was shot through the hips.
The wounded, bleeding Douglas then crawled partway into the barracks lobby in efforts to escape any further sniper fire.
Having been alerted at that point, other troopers in the barracks drove an SUV around to the front entrance. With ballistic shields raised as protection against any further sniper fire, they dragged their wounded and fallen colleagues into the barracks.
By that time, the sniper, believed to be Frein, had fled. Thus began the investigation and 48-day manhunt ending with Frein's capture Oct. 30, 2014 in Pocono Township.
DeSarro in his opening statement detailed for the jury the evidence leading to Frein being identified and eventually apprehended. Spent shell casings were found in the woods on the other side of Route 402 from the state police barracks.
Days later, a man walking his dog discovered a Jeep, registered to Frein's parents, partially submerged in a drainage pond about 2.9 miles from the barracks. In the Jeep were items including Frein's driver's license and camouflage face paint.
A rifle later was found by a tree nearby.
At the Canadensis home of Frein's parents, with whom he had been living at the time, police found guns, bomb-making materials and explosive powder. Also found was a "to-do" list of plans and another list of items for surviving in the woods.
During the manhunt, an FBI tracker led authorities to an abandoned campsite believed to have been Frein's. At the site were more items including a journal, believed to have been written by Frein, describing the sniper attack after it happened.
At the airfield hangar on the abandoned resort property where U.S. Marshals arrested Frein in Pocono Township, authorities found more rifles, one of which is believed to be the murder weapon, and ammunition matching that found at the murder scene. Also found was Frein's letter to his parents, stating his desire to start a revolution and "spark a fire in the hearts of men."
Defense attorney Michael Weinstein's opening statement to the jury was much shorter than DeSarro's had been. Weinstein gave no indication of what Frein's defense is, instead asking the jury to remember that the prosecution has the burden of proving Frein guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of first-degree murder, the most serious of the charges against him, Frein faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Testimony continues this afternoon.