Cleveland, OH, June 30, 2011… The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed the guilty verdict in the murder trial of Richard Poplawski, calling the jury's decision "a measure of justice for the victims and their families." A white supremacist, Poplawski gunned down three Pittsburgh Police officers in an ambush in April 2009.
The jury found Poplawski guilty of first-degree murder and 25 other charges related to the killings of Pittsburgh Officers Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullio. After announcing the verdict, the jury, in the death penalty phase of its deliberations, gave Poplawski three consecutive death sentences.
"Given the extreme nature of this case, and because it involved the calculated and cold-blooded murder of three police officers, we believe the jury made the right decision to find Richard Poplawski guilty of first-degree murder," said Nina Sundell, ADL Director for the League's Ohio/Kentucky/Allegheny Region, which includes Pittsburgh. "This case showed the tragic consequences of extremist ideology that leads to violence, and this verdict achieves a measure of justice for the victims and their families. We applaud the efforts of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office for their successful prosecution of this case."
Poplawski, 24, was a white supremacist and anti-government extremist who grew increasingly angry in the months before the April 4, 2009 shooting. He had become convinced that the government would create a tyrannical police state that would involve martial law, gun confiscation and the creation of FEMA-run concentration camps. His murder spree indicates the considerable threat posed by "lone wolf" extremists who are not part of any organized group or organization
ADL provided information (PDF) on Poplawski to the Pittsburgh Police in the days following the shootings and later assisted prosecutors as they prepared for trial. As part of this assistance, the League compiled a 41-page report of selected online postings by Poplawski that illustrated his extreme ideology and confrontational mindset.