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Emotions Run High As Philadelphia Cop Gets Life Sentence For Murdering Neighbor

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(William Panas Sr., left, and Lauren Panas, father and sister of the victim, speak with an unidentified colleague, right, following the sentencing of Frank Tepper.  Credit: John McDevitt)

(William Panas Sr., left, and Lauren Panas, father and sister of the victim, speak with an unidentified colleague, right, following the sentencing of Frank Tepper. Credit: John McDevitt)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today was sentencing day for a former Philadelphia police officer convicted of the first-degree murder of a Port Richmond neighbor during a curbside fight in 2009.

At the advice of his attorney, 45-year-old Frank Tepper gave up his right to speak before sentencing.  His arms were folded in front of him as the sister, mother, and then father of 21-year-old victim William Panas Jr. each took the stand to read impact statements, expressing their great loss.

As expected, the judge sentenced Tepper to life in prison without possibility of parole.  He was also ordered to pay nearly $13,000 in restitution for funeral and related expenses.

Karen Panas, the victim’s mother, asked the judge to order Tepper to solitary confinement on her son’s birthday and each anniversary of his death.  The judge said it would be up to the prison to decide that request.

“He blew my son’s chest apart for no reason, and that I have to live with for the rest of my life,” said Bill Panas Sr., the victim’s father, outside the Criminal Justice Center after the sentencing.  “I don’t know how I’m going to do it.  I’m going to start by asking God to help me.”

Then, breaking down in tears, he added, “Because I can’t ask…  it’s hard, man, it’s so hard. I miss him so much.”

Frank Tepper’s family declined to comment on the sentence.

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