11/18/2006

Pa. man sentenced to die for killing officer

The Associated Press

DOYLESTOWN, Pa.- A drunken-driving suspect who fatally shot a police officer and wounded two other people in an emergency room was sentenced to death Friday.

Robert Flor had pleaded guilty to murdering Newtown officer Brian Gregg at St. Mary Medical Center in suburban Philadelphia, where Flor had been taken for routine blood and urine tests after a drunken-driving arrest in September 2005.

Flor, 39, showed little emotion as the jury announced the sentence, but he lashed out at prosecutor Diane Gibbons as he was being led out of the courtroom.

''Why don't you give me the needle?'' he shouted, adding an expletive.

The outburst supported the verdict, Gibbons said.

''That was just a slice and a sliver of what's in this man's soul,'' she said.

Flor was apprehended at gunpoint when witnesses, including an off-duty police officer, said they saw him driving erratically and smashing his girlfriend's head on the dashboard.

At the hospital, Flor grabbed officer James Warunek's gun and started firing, killing Gregg and wounding Warunek and a hospital technician, Joseph Epp.

Public defender Bradley Bastedo had pushed for a life sentence, arguing that a history of sexual abuse as a child, brain damage, a low IQ and mental health problems left Flor unable to deal with the stress of losing custody of his 3-year-old daughter.

Bastedo said he was amazed that ''not one juror found one mitigating circumstance.''

Flor pleaded no contest to 30 related charges, including the attempted murders of Warunek and Epp.

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