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State Supreme Court upholds death sentence for man convicted in police officer slaying


HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for a man convicted of shooting a police officer.

A jury found 50-year-old George Hitcho Jr. guilty of first-degree murder in 2012 and sentenced him to death in the 2011 shotgun slaying of Freemansburg police Officer Robert Lasso, who was responding to a disturbance call at Hitcho's home.

Hitcho's lawyers had challenged the verdict in 2013 under an appeal that claimed he should have been charged with voluntary manslaughter because he reacted in fear when he killed Lasso. The appeal was rejected.

Justice Correale Stevens said Tuesday that Hitcho's death sentence was supported by overwhelming evidence and was not a "product of passion."

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli says he expects Hitcho will continue his appeals.

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