Pittsburgh, PA (AP) — A jury has decided that a man they convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a Pennsylvania police officer should get the death penalty.

The jury reached the unanimous verdict Thursday against 31-year-old Rahmael Sal Holt.

Holt was convicted Tuesday in the November 2017 slaying of 25-year-old New Kensington officer Brian Shaw.

Prosecutors contend Holt was an armed drug dealer who had planned to rob the driver of the SUV that Shaw attempted to stop in Old Kensington in Westmoreland County on the night of the shooting. Holt has maintained that he wasn’t the person who fired.

The death penalty remains legal in 29 U.S. states, although four of those states, including Pennsylvania, have a moratorium on executions.


According to the Officer Down Memorial Page:

Patrolman Brian Shaw was shot and killed while making a traffic stop of a vehicle in the 1200 block of Leishman Avenue at approximately 8 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2017.

The vehicle’s passenger fled on foot during the stop, then opened fire on Patrolman Shaw as he pursued him. Although he was wearing his vest, Patrolman Shaw was fatally wounded in the chest during the foot pursuit. The subject fled the scene but was arrested on Nov. 21, 2017.

On November 12th, 2019, the subject was convicted of Patrolman Shaw’s murder and sentenced to death.

Patrolman Shaw had served with the New Kensington Police Department for only five months. He had previously served as a part-time officer for three years with the Cheswick Police Department, Frazer Township Police Department, and East Deer Township Police Department. He is survived by his parents, brother, and grandmother.