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Friday, October 18, 2013

Man Who Killed Roulette Couple's Son Appealing Death Sentence, Claims He's Intellectually Disabled

Roulette Couple's Policeman Son Was Murdered By This Man

By Laurie Mason Schroeder Staff Writer
Bucks County Courier Times

Convicted cop killer Robert Flor was back in Bucks County Court on Friday, trying to get his death sentence for murdering Newtown police Officer Brian Gregg overturned.

Armed with a team of lawyers from the Federal Defender's Association, the 46-year-old Falls man is attempting to prove his former attorneys from the county Public Defender's office didn't work hard enough to keep him off death row.
Brian Gregg

Specifically, Flor charges the jurors who handed down his death sentence were not told he is intellectually disabled, a mental health diagnosis formerly called mentally retarded. County Judge Alan Rubenstein heard from several mental health experts Friday in Doylestown, as part of Flor's appeal under the Post Conviction Relief Act.

A jury in 2006 sentenced Flor to death for fatally shooting Gregg, 46, on Sept. 29, 2005. 

Ed. note--(The popular Newtown police officer was the son of John and Nancy Gregg of Roulette Township in Potter County.)

The murder took place in the emergency room of St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown, where Flor had been brought following his arrest for drunken driving and domestic assault. Gregg's partner, Newtown Officer James Warunek, had taken Flor into a bathroom stall so he could provide a urine sample.

After Warunek uncuffed him, Flor grabbed the officer's gun and began shooting.

Gregg, who was just a week away from his one-year anniversary as a full-time police officer, was hit twice in the head. Horrified witnesses told detectives Flor shouted “Die, pig, die!” during the attack.

Flor pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and asked that a jury be empaneled to decide his sentence. Following a lengthy hearing, the panel returned with a death verdict in a record 90 minutes.

Flor has filed numerous appeals, including a complaint based on the fact that Rubenstein called him a “punk” before sentencing him. Each appeal has been denied.

In 2011, Gov. Tom Corbett signed Flor's execution warrant, but the order was stayed because Flor had not exhausted all his appeals.

Security at the county courthouse was heightened Friday. Flor was led into the courtroom via a back entrance, so he did not have to walk through the throng of uniformed police officers who showed up to the hearing and lined the back wall of the courtroom for much of the proceeding.

Heavier and sporting a gray beard, Flor sat mostly silent in the courtroom. At one point he asked a deputy to loosen his handcuffs because they were hurting his wrists.

Defense expert Edward J. Dougherty, a forensic psychologist, testified he met with Flor in 2006 at the request of his lawyers, and immediately observed “red flags” that the cop killer had intellectual deficiencies.

Dougherty opined that Flor showed signs of fetal alcohol syndrome, the top cause of mental retardation in the U.S., including a small head, low-set ears and wide-set eyes.

The psychologist said he did an initial screening of Flor and told the defendant's attorneys he needed to do more tests.

“The conversation opened a lot of doors that needed to be investigated,” he said.

Dougherty said he never heard from Flor's public defenders again. He testified Friday he has now looked at numerous test results and reports provided by Flor's appellate lawyers, and is confident the defendant is intellectually disabled. Dougherty said Flor's scores on many of the tests designed to show how well he can perform problem-solving tasks were so low that they were “off the charts.”

Forensic neuropsychologist Jonathan Mack was the next expert on the stand. Mack, who testified at Flor's sentencing in 2006 and concluded the murderer was brain-damaged, said he would have labeled him intellectually disabled if he'd had more information.

Mack said Flor, a high school dropout, had told him he passed a GED test. The expert said that caused him to make assumptions about the defendant's intelligence levels. Flor's new lawyers later confirmed he lied about passing the GED, and in fact the state department of education has no record of him taking the test.

Mack said that information, coupled with another doctor's diagnosis that Flor showed signs of fetal alcohol syndrome, would have altered his testimony in 2006.

“I was given misinformation that distorted the picture,” he said.

If Rubenstein is swayed by the experts' testimony it could bode well for Flor, since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that the execution of mentally retarded people is unconstitutional.

But prosecutors from the Bucks County District Attorney's Office have noted Flor's lawyers in 2006 did present three mental health experts to the jury who sent him to death row. None of the experts said Flor was intellectually disabled.

Rubenstein will hear more testimony at a later date before handing down a ruling. In addition to the death verdict, Rubenstein sentenced Flor to 65 to 130 years on 30 other charges, including the attempted murder of Warunek and ER technician Joseph Epp.

Gregg's family members were in the courtroom Friday, as well as Newtown Chief of Police Anthony Wojciechowski. All declined to be interviewed.  See more photo-video.....


Anonymous said...

So he can drink, drive, and beat someone up then kill someone yet he's mr? Shakin my head...

Anonymous said...

Really hope this excuse doesn't work. Trying to use a diagnosis to claim one's not responsible for actions is simply disgusting. He was intellectually disabled enough to not know what he was doing is wrong? but yet he's not intellectually disabled to the point that he knows he can use it to try to get out of a sentence? yeah right! makes no sense, but that's just my opinion and opinions don't mean much. smh.

Anonymous said...

Based on the accounts, he never should have been found guilty of premeditated murder. I'm sorry for the victim's family and their loss.

Anonymous said...

Smart enough to take a police officers gun, and shoot him!
He still needs to be off the streets. Keep him locked up!

Anonymous said...

Huh bitching about his free lawyers.. not being good enough. Then pay for your own dam lawyer! shhhh freaking dirt bag!

Anonymous said...

If you have enough brains to fight an officer then take his gun you are smart enough to die for it. If you are that mentally deficient that you can't interact socially in public without harming someone then you deserve to die like everyone else. Just a waste of tax payers dollars again. need to write our state reps and congressmen and get this law changed.

Anonymous said...

Yup, still can't fix STUPID

Mr Realistic said...

The first question that comes to mind for me is....why is our judicial system so slow and just how many appeals does a person get?'s been over 6 years since he was sentenced to death. This MURDERER should have been pushing up daisies for years by now. One of the things that makes this country so backward is the slow processes of the law system and the unending manipulation of the lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Hang'em high

Anonymous said...

Had he shot the Prez, he'd been dead with in minutes without appeals (or a trial).

Anonymous said...

Mentally deficient or not, you still put down a mad dog. If he's a danger, (and he obviously is), get him GONE!

Anonymous said...

He just needs to go straight to jail, the key thrown away, should not even be given a lawyer, he is not insane, a good excuse to justify what he did, Sorry Bubba, you took a man's life away & now you do not deserve to have a life either! Too much of this is going on & the System needs to end it!
Let justice Prevail! My thoughts & Prayers are with the Gregg family!