Hitcho Gets Death Sentence in Cop Killing
George Hitcho Jr. is sentenced to death for killing Freemansburg policeman Robert Lasso.
A Northampton County jury has sentenced George Hitcho Jr. to death in the murder of a Freemansburg police officer, according to news reports.
The jury began deliberating Thursday morning, and returned with its verdict around 2:25 p.m.
Hitcho, 46, was found guilty of first-degree murder last week in the killing of Officer Robert Lasso last August.
Lasso was responding to a disturbance called in by Hitcho's neighbor at 126 Washington St. on the afternoon of Aug. 11 when the shooting occurred. He was taken to St. Luke's Hospital and died later that evening.
Hitcho's lawyers had conceded their client shot Lasso, but argued their client's mental abilities have been impaired over the years due to multiple head traumas or that he reacted to Lasso knocking on his door at 440 New St., Freemansburg, with fear and anger and not malicious intent.
But District Attorney John Morganelli argued in court that Hitcho's mental state had not deteriorated to the point that he didn't realize what he was doing, WFMZ reports.
Lasso, the son of a Freemansburg borough councilman, left behind a wife and two young children. He had been on the force for seven years at the time of the shooting.
A poll last week found 57 percent of our readers favored the death penalty for Hitcho.
He is the second defendant to receive a death sentence in Northampton County in the last year. In May 2011, Michael Ballard was sentenced to die for killing four people in the borough of Norhampton.