Death penalty sought for accused New Kensington cop killer |
Valley News Dispatch

Death penalty sought for accused New Kensington cop killer

Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Rahmael Sal Holt is escorted into district court in New Kensington Tuesday morning by Westmoreland County Det. Ray Dupilka (left) and New Kensington police Chief Jim Klein to face charges of murdering New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw.
Police have identified Rahmael Sal Holt as the suspect in the shooting death of New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw.
Pictured from left to right are New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw, roses in the lot where he was fatally shot while on duty, mourners lining Leechburg Road in Shaw's hometown of Lower Burrell and the man suspected in Shaw's murder, Rahmael Holt.

Rahmael Holt will face the death penalty if he is convicted of killing New Kensington police officer Brian Shaw.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck filed notice Friday that he intends to seek capital punishment in the case.

Holt, 29, is accused of shooting and killing Shaw on Nov. 17. He was arrested four days later in Pittsburgh after a massive manhunt across the region.

Holt is charged with murder of a law enforcement officer, first-degree homicide, unlawful possession of a firearm and firearms not to be carried without a license. He is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison without bond.

In his notice filed with the court, Peck lists Shaw’s duty as a police officer as an aggravating circumstance.

In a separate filing, Peck said he intends to introduce victim impact testimony during sentencing from Shaw’s family and friends in the event Holt is convicted.

Police believe Holt fled a traffic stop of Leishman Avenue and when Shaw, 25, chased him on foot, Holt allegedly turned and shot at Shaw .

After a four-day manhunt, police arrested Holt at his mother’s home in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

In additional to Holt, some family and others are entangled in court actions related to his case including:

• Sherry Holt, 47, of Pittsburgh, Holt’s mother, is headed to trial at Pittsburgh Municipal Court for allegedly lying to police during the four-day manhunt for her son in November.

She will be formally arraigned Feb. 14 on a count of hindering apprehension.

• Holt’s father, Gregory Paul Baucum, 47, of Victoria Avenue, Arnold, will stand trial for allegedly assaulting a woman who allegedly gave police a tip leading to Holt’s arrest.

District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. earlier this month held for court charges again Baucum including witness intimidation, strangulation, assault and harassment.

• Taylor Mitchell, 18, and Lakita Caine, 40, both of Arnold, are charged with one count each of hindering apprehension. Police say Holt fled to their home almost immediately after the shooting, though they told police they hadn’t seen Holt that night.

• Holt’s cousin, Marcel Mason, 29, and Aysa Benson, 30, who police say is Mason’s girlfriend, face hindering apprehension charges after police received a tip that Holt had been in contact with Mason, though both Mason and Benson denied having any knowledge of where Holt was.

Investigators said they later learned that Rahmael Holt had been to Mason’s home, where Mason gave him a change of clothes, and Aysa Benson dropped him off at a Downtown Pittsburgh bus stop.

Formal arraignment for Mason also is scheduled for Feb. 14. Benson’s formal arraignment is Feb. 9.

Renatta Signorini and Mary Ann Thomas are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Signorini at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter @byrenatta. Reach Thomas at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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