Hayward man found guilty in SF officer's death

September 23, 2010 7:55:40 PM PDT
Late Thursday, a San Francisco jury found a Hayward man guilty of killing a police officer in a crash. The jury decided 24-year-old Steven Petrilli was responsible for the death of Officer Nick Tomasito-Birco, after Petrilli's stolen car crashed into Birco's stopped police car in 2006.

Petrilli was convicted on all 10 counts, including murder, robbery, and evading a police officer. It was an emotional hearing, which was attended by dozens of police officers and police brass.

Petrilli broke down and cried after the verdict was read.

He was 19 when the crime occurred on July 26, 2006. Petrilli and two others fled in a stolen car after a robbery on Bayshore Boulevard. He led police on a car chase that wound its way through the city and Interstate 280.

The van crashed into Tomasito-Birco's patrol car at Cambridge and Felton streets. Tomasito-Birco was stationed at the Bayview Station and had been on the force for five years. Petrilli was out on bail at the time.

After the verdict Tomasito-Birco's father said, "Petrilli, we forgive you. You are just human and we make mistakes. Any your family we bear no grudge or bitterness towards or against you."

There will be a hearing on Oct. 22 to set a date for sentencing. Since the crime was committed during a robbery, it is a special circumstances case, which means Petrilli could get life without parole.

The two other defendants who were in the van with him will also be tried for murder later.


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