THE BUCKS COUNTY man accused of killing a Philadelphia motorcycle police officer in a horrific July drunken-driving crash will be tried for murder, a judge affirmed Friday.
Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner denied a motion to quash the third-degree murder charge against defendant John D. Leck, who is accused of killing Officer Brian Lorenzo on July 8 in the fiery crash on I-95 near the Cottman Avenue exit.
Michael K. Parlow, Leck's attorney, filed the motion asking that the murder count - the most serious charge against his client - be thrown out.
Leck, 47, a debt collector from Levittown, was driving the wrong way shortly after 3 a.m., when his Audi A6 struck struck Lorenzo's motorcycle head-on. The officer was thrown into the car's windshield and then over the top of the car to the pavement.
Lorenzo, 48, a 23-year veteran cop, husband and father of three, was left dead on the highway. He had been headed home to the Northeast after his work shift.
Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Coelho said that Leck should be tried for third-degree murder because he acted with "malicious intent" by driving drunk and that he had "significant opportunity" to realize he was going in the wrong direction given the road signs he passed.
"There's nobody that doesn't realize that going the wrong way on I-95 would not result in serious bodily injury or death," she said after the hearing.
Leck, who is being held without bail, is also charged with involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, and driving under the influence.
Coelho withdrew an aggravated-assault charge Friday. She said the murder charge was more appropriate because the victim died.