Man Convicted for Shooting McKeesport Officer - Homeless Man Found Guilty in Retrial
PITTSBURGH - A homeless man was convicted at a second trial of fatally shooting a part-time police officer in 1993.
Andre Harper was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder for the Nov. 10, 1993 shooting death of McKeesport police Officer Frank Miller. The jury deliberated about four hours.
Miller, 25, of Murrysville, had been on the force for six months when he confronted Harper for panhandling. A witness said the two struggled and Harper got Miller's gun and shot the officer twice.
Harper, 47, has maintained that Miller committed suicide, despite witness accounts and evidence that contradicted that version of events.
He was convicted at his first trial, but a new trial was granted in 1999 after a state Superior Court panel found that Harper's lawyer failed to present testimony that his client suffered from schizophrenia.
Robert Stewart, Harper's attorney in the latest trial, said Harper's mental condition had mistakenly led him to believe he was justified in using deadly force in self-defense.
Sentencing has been scheduled for May 7. First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence without parole. He received the same sentence after his first trial.