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Jury: Hitcho Guilty of First Degree Murder of Cop

George Hitcho Jr. is found guilty of first degree murder; punishment phase of trial to determine whether he gets death penalty to start Monday.

has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Freemansburg police officer Robert Lasso, WFMZ-TV, Channel 69 has reported.

The jury will next be asked to determine whether Hitcho will be put to death or put in prison for the rest of his life in the punishment phase of the trial, scheduled to start on Monday.

Attorneys for the prosecution and defense finished closing arguments and Northampton County Judge Anthony Beltrami gave the jury its instructions this afternoon, according to The Express Times. The verdict came rapidly thereafter.

The jury apparently did not buy defense arguments that Hitcho's mental abilities have been impaired over the years due to multiple head traumas or that he reacted to Lasso knocking on his door at 440 New St., Freemansburg, with fear and anger and not malicious intent.

Lasso was responding to a called in by Hitcho's neighbor at 126 Washington St. on Aug. 11 when the shooting occurred. The two properties are separated by an alley.

Lasso was survived by his wife, Jennifer; a 7-year-old daughter, and a 4-year-old son who live in South Bethlehem. Lasso's father is Freemansburg Borough Councilman Donald Lasso.

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