Judge commutes cop-killer’s death sentence to life

officer danny boyle
Officer Daniel R. Boyle. Credit: PPD

A Philadelphia Commonwealth Court judge commuted a death sentence to life imprisonment for a man convicted of murdering a Philly cop in 1991.

Officer Daniel R. Boyle was 21 and had been a police officer for one year when he was shot after stopping a stolen car. He died from his wounds two days later, on Feb. 6, 1991.

Edward Bracey was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

However, Judge Theresa Sarmina vacated the death sentence on Monday, ruling that Bracey was mentally retarded and could not be put to death.

Sarmina reportedly found Bracey to have an IQ of 74, according to the Inquirer.

Bracey’s sentence is now life without parole. He has served 20 years on death row.

While District Attorney Seth Williams at a press conference this morning did not announce whether his office would appeal Sarmina’s ruling, saying it is too early to make that decision, he criticized overruling a 22-year-old jury verdict.

“Officer Danny Boyle was a true hero,” Williams said in a statement. “This ruling is perplexing, and I can only imagine how devastating it is for the Boyle family.”

Williams’ first assistant district attorney, Ed McCann, said that in one of Bracey’s prior appeals in 1998, three expert witnesses testified that Bracey was not retarded.

“The defendant alleged that his trial attorney was ineffective for failing to present mental health mitigation evidence,” McCann said in a statement.

According to McCann, Bracey presented three expert witnesses: one who said Bracey’s IQ was 5 points above the level required for mental retardation; another said simply that Bracey was not retarded; and a third said Bracey was in the borderline range of retardation but could read at a 10th-grade level.

Bracey’s 1998 appeal was denied.

“The victim’s family [has] questions about a process that can lead to a result like this, and I for one have no answers,” McCann’s statement continued. “Because I have the same question about how a jury’s verdict, having been ratified by multiple layers of review, can be undone 22 years after it was rendered on a claim that is frankly inconsistent with the evidence this same defendant produced in 1998.”

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 will hold a press conference later this afternoon.

_________________

Follow Sam Newhouse on Twitter: @scnewhouse

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.