Convicted cop-killer John "Jordan" Lewis today could learn if a Philadelphia jury will sentence him to life in prison without parole, or death.
After defense and prosecution attorneys deliver closing remarks in the penalty phase of Lewis' capital murder trial this morning, the jury will get instructions from Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart and then begin deliberating the defendant's fate.
If Lewis is sentenced to death, he will be the 14th man on Pennsylvania's death row for murdering a law-enforcement officer, according to the state Department of Corrections. Six of those men on death row have been condemned for murdering Philadelphia officers. Lewis would be the 222nd inmate on the state's death row.
Court was not in session yesterday to allow defense attorney Bernard Siegel to attend the funeral of longtime friend and former law partner Steve Laver, who died last week.
Lewis, a 23-year-old high-school dropout from North Philadelphia, was found guilty last week of first-degree murder in the Oct. 31, 2007, slaying of Philadelphia Police Officer Chuck Cassidy.
The 54-year-old husband and father of three was making a routine check on a West Oak Lane Dunkin' Donuts when he stumbled onto a robbery Lewis was committing at the store.
Lewis shot Cassidy, a 25-year veteran, in the head. The officer died the next day.