Authorities will seek the death penalty for accused cop killer Eric Frein, captured after 48-day manhunt

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By RYAN GORMAN

Accused Pennsylvania State Trooper (PSP) killer Eric Frein has been captured -- and authorities intend to seek the death penalty.

The 31-year-old survivalist led cops on a nearly two-month manhunt in the dense Pocono Mountains wilderness before surrendering Thursday evening. Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin announced the accused killer faces death if convicted of his crimes.

He faces a number of charges including first-degree murder, murder of a law enforcement officer and first-degree attempted murder. Those charges are capital offenses in Pennsylvania.

"I intend to seek the death penalty," Tonkin said at a late Wednesday evening press conference.

Frein was somehow able to elude police capture for 48 days until he was captured in an abandoned hangar at Pocono Mountain Municipal Airport, officials said.

"The reason this took so long, its such a wooded area that he was totally familiar with that he had plenty of places to hide in," said Noonan.

He was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals who confronted him walking out in the open. There is intense speculation he was forced to the hangar as temperatures in the area began to approach freezing during the overnights.

"They saw an individual they though was Eric Frein, ordered him to surrender and get down on his knees," Noonan said. "He did not give up because he was tired, he gave up because he was caught and had no choice."

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Frein admitted his identity and was immediately arrested and restrained using Cpl. Bryon Dickson's handcuffs, PSP Commissioner Frank Noonan said. He allegedly killed Dickson during the September 12 ambush that sparked the 48 day manhunt.

An early image of him showed an abrasion and blood across the bridge of his nose but police said he was taken into custody without incident despite having at least two firearms and multiple knives, according to media reports.

"Eric Frein had a mission, and that was to attack law enforcement," Noonan insisted. "If he got out of those woods, we were very concerned that he would then kill other law enforcement -- and then civilians."

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"We weren't going to stop until this fugitive was going to be arrested, and I'm glad it ended without any other loss of life –- including his," Noonan continued.

Frein is accused of also injuring Trooper Alex Douglass in the assault, which occurred at the BloomingGrove State Police barracks.

Officers recovered a high-powered sniper rifle and a pistol, according to Noonan, but neither weapon was on his person when authorities confronted him.

The airport where Frein was taken into custody is about 20 miles from the Blooming Grove state trooper's barracks where he allegedly shot Dickson and Douglass.

Noonan immediately shot down rumors Frein was being helped by people to evade police searching for him, despite the accused killer's clean-shaven appearance when arrested.

"He was in good physical condition, not damaged at all," said Noonan. "He did not require any medical condition ... he was healthier than I would have expected."

More than 1,000 officers from as far away as Virginia took part in the search at times, according to Noonan. They all can rest easy knowing he in finally in custody.

"I can't think of a more dangerous occupation than going into the woods after this individual," said Noonan, adding that he was surprised no other officers were killed because they were "out in the open" while Frein was in hiding.

Investigators are not sure how long Frein was at the airport, but do not believe had been there for an extended period of time.

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Officials announced earlier Thursday that Halloween trick-or-treating was cancelled in Canadensis and surrounding towns as the manhunt wore on. That decision has since been reversed.

Weeks of sightings and the recovery of pipe bombs, an AK-47 and other belongings attributed to Frein finally led police to track him down.

Law enforcement sources previously called Frein "a coward" for allegedly ambushing the two officers and going into hiding.

The accused killer could be arraigned as early as Thursday night but no later than Friday, said Tonkin.

He is currently sitting in a holding cell in the Blooming Grove State Police barracks, where this whole ordeal began nearly seven weeks ago.

Breaking: Accused Cop Killer Eric Frein Taken Into Custody In Pennsylvania
Breaking: Accused Cop Killer Eric Frein Taken Into Custody In Pennsylvania


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