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HomeWorldPhiladelphia won’t seek death penalty in Temple U. officer’s death. Colleagues and...

Philadelphia won’t seek death penalty in Temple U. officer’s death. Colleagues and family are upset

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia’s top prosecutor won’t seek death penalty for teenager accused of fatal shooting a Temple University official, a decision that angered the victim’s colleagues and family members.

District Attorney Larry Krasner, a former civil rights lawyer, has long been a vocal opponent of the death penalty in a state with a moratorium on it. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a fellow Democrat, has vowed not to impose any execution orders.

Miles Pfeffer, 19, of Buckingham Township in suburban Philadelphia, learned the decision during a brief court hearing Wednesday. He is accused of killing Officer Christopher Fitzgerald, 31, in February 2023 as the officer was pursuing three suspects following a string of robberies and carjackings in the area. After two of the suspects hid, officers say, Fitzgerald caught up to Pfeffer and ordered him to the ground. The two struggled and Pfeffer shot him six times, killing him, officials say.

Fitzgerald was a married father of four children.

Pfeffer, then 18, was arrested the next morning at his mother’s suburban home and charged with murder, killing a police officer, carjacking and other crimes. He remains in jail without bail. No trial date has been set.

A spokesman for Krasner said the death penalty decision was the result of “extensive input” from both experts and Fitzgerald’s family.

“They reviewed all aspects of the case itself and all available information about the defendant before making their recommendations to DA Krasner, who made the final decision,” said Wednesday’s statement from spokesman Dustin Slaughter.

Pfeffer is represented by the public defender’s office, which generally does not comment on cases. Messages left with a spokesman for the office were not immediately returned Wednesday.

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Joel Fitzgerald, the victim’s father and a former city police officer who now heads Denver’s public transit police, released a statement saying Krasner’s background as an attorney was “the deciding factor in justice,” according to local news reports.

The Temple University Police Association called the decision “absolutely devastating” in a social media post.

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