PINEVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The driver of a car that rammed into a
cruiser two months ago, killing a southeastern Kentucky deputy and
his police dog, will be tried as an adult, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Bell County District Judge Robert Costanzo sent the case of
17-year-old David Poppiti of New Castle, Del., to circuit court,
where he will face a murder charge in the death of Sheriff's Deputy
Sean Pursifull, County Attorney Neil Ward said.
A passenger in the car, 16-year-old Eric Gerren of Chester
County, Pa., was originally charged with murder, but Ward said that
charge was amended earlier to complicity to murder. Gerren's case
will remain in juvenile court by agreement of the lawyers in the
case, Ward said.
Ward said Gerren was willing to take responsibility for his
actions as part of the agreement to keep the case in juvenile
court. Another hearing is set in Gerren's case for May 21, Ward
Poppiti and Gerren, who both appeared in court on Wednesday, are
being held in a juvenile detention center in Adair County, the
prosecutor said. Both pleaded not guilty during their arraignments
the day after the wreck.
Pursifull, 31, and his police dog, King, died Jan. 10 when the
car rammed into Pursifull's parked cruiser during a high-speed
chase following a gas station drive-off. Pursifull and King were
buried beside each other in a family cemetery.
Poppiti is also charged with assault on a service animal, a
felony, Ward said.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)