2009-09-24 / Local & State

Trial To Open In Ex-Pa. Police Chief's Slaying

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - Testimony is scheduled to begin Monday in the death penalty trial of a man accused of murdering a retired southwestern Pennsylvania police chief and his wife during a robbery in their home.

Jury selection was completed Friday for the trial for 26-yearold Gerald Louis Szakal (ZAY'- kal) Jr. of Rostraver. Prosecutors allege that he killed 63-year-old Howard Springer, a former Carroll Township police chief, and his 65-year-old wife, Nancy, while robbing their home-based precious metals business in March 2008.

Three other men who allegedly helped plan the heist have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify against Szakal, who has pleaded not guilty. Authorities allege that the defendant knew the couple because he had sold them jewelry he stole from his mother.

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