GOV. CORBETT took the next step yesterday in bringing the ultimate punishment to the confessed killer of Officer Chuck Cassidy.
But there's still a long road of bureaucracy ahead in that tragic case, authorities said.
Corbett signed the execution warrant for Lewis Jordan, 27, who was convicted in 2009 of shooting Cassidy in the head during the robbery of a Dunkin' Donuts in West Oak Lane in 2007.
Jordan has been on death row since his conviction, but sources close to Corbett say the governor took the earliest opportunity available to sign the order.
"There's a specific process to go through for these warrants," said Joshua Maus, a spokesman for Corbett's Office of General Counsel. "This is an issue of procedure. This wasn't an arbitrary time chosen."
And Maus was quick to point out that the warrant doesn't mean Jordan will be executed on June 18, the approved date.
"There are a litany of appeals available in circumstances like these," Maus said. "Due to those appeals, that process could last five, 10 or even 15 years."
To put that into perspective, 205 execution warrants have been signed by Pennsylvania governors since 1999, the last time the state carried out an execution, according to information from the state Department of Corrections. That convict was Gary Heidnik, who was convicted of torturing and killing two women in the basement of his home in North Philadelphia.
Despite the uncertainty of the appeals process, those who knew Cassidy best are pleased to hear of the order.
"It's a good thing, and on behalf of the officers here, we're delighted to hear that," said John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5.
"We'll see how it goes down the road, but we're cautiously optimistic they'll carry through with that order."
McNesby said the FOP has been close with Cassidy's family in the years since his death, and hopes that Jordan's execution might lead "to final closure for them."
Judy Cassidy, the slain officer's widow, declined to comment. In December, she posted on a memorial page for her husband, saying, "After 6 years, you would think it gets easier, but deep down it hurts so much - some days it feels like it happened yesterday, while others it seems like a lifetime since we've been able to just hug him.
"Life does go on, but it will never be the same without him, as many of you who have lost someone so close know all too well."