Pennsylvania Man Sentenced to Death After Killing Police Officer

February 12, 2020 Updated: February 12, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

A man who was found guilty of killing a Pennsylvania police officer was sentenced to death.

Rahmael Holt, 31, of Harrison, Allegheny County, is now the 133rd person on the state’s death row. He was condemned to death by lethal injection in the 2017 slaying of Officer Brian Shaw in Kensington, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WTAE. A Westmoreland County jury recommended the death penalty and Judge Rita Hathaway announced it Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Shaw had chased after Holt when he attempted to flee a traffic stop. Holt then shot and killed Shaw during the pursuit.

“This doesn’t bring Brian back, but it gives some closure and the ability to focus on nothing but healing,” Shaw’s brother, Penn Hills police Officer Steffan Shaw, told WTAE last year. “Brian may no longer be with us but he is forever with us in spirit. He will forever be a guardian angel for all.”

During the sentencing on Wednesday, Hathaway told Holt that all he had to do was “sit in the vehicle” during the traffic stop.

“Officer Shaw may have just given you a citation for running a stop sign, and even if he would have searched the car for a gun, you more than likely would have only spent five years in jail. Instead, you chose a different path,” the judge told him, CBS Pittsburgh reported.

Holt’s attorney Tim Dawson said his client is planning to appeal the sentence.

“He was surprisingly upbeat for a man who was just convicted and sentenced to death. He knows he has a long road ahead of him,” Dawson said, according to the Tribune-Review.

A jury found Holt guilty of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer in November 2019.