By Pat Loeb and Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –The father of murdered Philadelphia police officer Danny Boyle is vowing to fight a judge’s ruling that vacates the death penalty imposed on his son’s killer.
Boyle, a rookie officer, was gunned down on February 4,1991 by Edward Bracey who was convicted and sentenced to death a year later.
But a judge has now ruled, based on a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision, that Bracey cannot be sentenced to death because he is mentally challenged (See Related Story).
Pat Boyle, Danny’s father, says the decision is, in his words, “outrageous.”
Boyle’s father is asking the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to fight the ruling. KYW’s Pat Loeb reports he made the request at a sometimes emotional news conference.
“This is a miscarriage of justice. It’s outrageous and it mocks all that is right and fair,” former police officer Pat Boyle said.
Boyle minced no words in denouncing the ruling. He also took issue with the mental deficiency defense and was clearly unhappy not just with the common pleas judge who issued the ruling, but the federal judge who, in the 1980’s, ordered inmates released in a prison overcrowding suit.
“Dangerous and predatory inmates were released. The defendant in Danny’s case was one of them. He got a get-out-of-jail free card,” Boyle said.
Boyle says these are the frustrations revisited with each appeal.
“We’ve been through this so many times in the past 23 years. It just rips opens wounds we had to suffer through the trial,” he said.
Boyle notes prosecutors won several appeals before losing this one and he urged them not to stop here.
“Get this decision overturned,” he said.
An attorney whose non-profit center represents inmates like Bracey says the ruling “does not say that Bracey should not be convicted or punished, only that he should not be executed.”
For now Bracey remains on Death Row pending a decision by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office on whether an appeal will be filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (See Related Story).
Boyle says during four days of hearings before the judge last April, he and his family felt like “pieces of furniture”, as they were not permitted to testify or participate in the appeals process to explain the loss they have endured for nearly 23 years.
The Boyle family says they will try to carry on the fight to keep Bracey on Death Row “in Danny’s name.”
The Danny Boyle Scholarship Fund over the past 23 years has raised more than $600,000 to help nearly 800 students.
To learn more you can link to their website at http://www.officerdanielboyle.com/.