Request for plea deal rejected in killing of Penn Hills police officer

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Allegheny County prosecutors rejected this morning a defense request for a plea agreement in the slaying of a Penn Hills police officer.

According to a statement by the Allegheny County District Attorney's office, prosecutors were approached with an offer by lawyers for Ronald Robinson to plead guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in exchange for two life prison terms.

"When approached with such an offer, our office has an ethical responsibility to both consider the offer and communicate the offer to the family of the victims," said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the DA's office. "That communication took place this morning and jury selection in the trial will continue this afternoon."

So far, there have been five jurors selected in the capital case. Robinson is accused of killing Officer Michael Crawshaw on Dec. 6, 2009, as he responded to a 911 call on Johnston Road. Danyal Morton was also killed, police have said, because of a drug debt.

Veronica Brestensky, who is representing Robinson in the guilt phase of the trial, was disappointed in the decision.

"I respectfully disagree with their position because I believe a resolution through a plea would be beneficial for everyone involved and would save much pain and heartache for both sides," she said.

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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