02/15/2001

Prosecutors to seek death for man charged with killing 2 officers
[CENTREVILLE, Md.]

February 15, 2001
(CENTREVILLE, Md.) – Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for a Maryland man charged with killing two police officers who responded to a noise complaint at his trailer.

But Francis Zito, 41, may not stand trial. At a hearing Wednesday, a judge ordered a that Zito be held without bail and sent to a psychiatric institution for a hearing to determine his competency.

Zito, feared by many in Centreville, a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has a long history of arrests and hospitalizations. He met with his probation officer Tuesday, only a few hours before Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Deputy Jason C. Schwenz, 28, and Centreville Police officer Michael S. Nickerson, 24, were hit by blasts from a shotgun.

Schwenz died at the scene and Nickerson a short time later in a Baltimore hospital.

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