Facing a third possible retrial for shooting at two Mt. Lebanon police officers, a former Carnegie Mellon University professor Monday instead pleaded guilty to attempted homicide.
Edward Constant II, 70, was sentenced to 11 to 25 years in prison. He has already served 11 years in prison, so he is now eligible for parole.
Constant, who taught history, was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife the night of May 26, 2002. A neighbor called police, and Officers Daniel Rieg and Jeffrey Kite of Mt. Lebanon responded.
When the officers tried to enter the home on Piper Drive, the Constants, who were both drunk, tried to stop them.
There was a commotion when Susan Constant was knocked to the floor. Edward Constant grabbed a .44-caliber handgun and fired it at close range at Officer Rieg. It punctured his body armor.
The force of the impact knocked the officer off the porch of the home. He sustained injuries to his neck, back, hips and shoulders and was off work for a year. Office Kite was not injured.
"Eleven-and-a-half years ago, I made a ghastly mistake and a horrid mistake," Mr. Constant said. "I deeply regret it, and I'm deeply remorseful for the pain and anxiety I caused Officer Rieg and Officer Kite and their families."
Neither officer attended the hearing before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski but relayed through the district attorney that they approved the plea agreement.
"It's now past 11 years since the incident," said Assistant District Attorney Kevin Chernosky. "Finality is one of the things they wanted, as well."
Susan Constant also testified briefly.
"He and I are both sincerely sorry for what happened, what it cost the officers involved," she said.
The woman told the court they had strong families ties in Texas and Florida, and if her husband were released they would hope to relocate there.
Constant had gone to trial on the charges twice before -- in 2004 and 2005, but each conviction was overturned -- the first time because a member of the court staff had improper contact with a juror, and the second time because the trial judge erred by not letting Constant's wife and family observe jury selection.
In each of the previous two trials, Constant was sentenced to 141/2 to 29 years in prison.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard. First Published September 30, 2013 3:30 PM