The widow of a slain Pennsylvania state trooper sued the killer’s family in Lackawanna County Court last week, according to court documents obtained by the Scranton Times-Tribune Friday.
Tiffany Dickson seeks damages from Eugene M. and Deborah Frein for the alleged role they played in fostering the anti-government views that inspired their son, Eric Matthew Frein, to ambush two state troopers in northeastern Pennsylvania on Sept. 12, 2014.
Dickson alleges Frein’s parents exerted “significant influence” over their son’s distrust of the government and police, even financially supporting him as he stockpiled weapons, ammo and supplies later used in the attack.
“Eugene regaled Eric with exaggerated stories about Eugene’s career in the military,” the suit alleges, per the newspaper. “Eric attempted to emulate his father but could not measure up.”
Dickson also blames Frein’s parents for keeping more than four dozen guns, including .308-caliber rifle used to kill her husband, easily accessible, despite knowing their son’s precarious mental state, “which would evidence he should not be entrusted with dangerous items such as firearms and materials for building explosive devices.”
Frein shot and killed Tiffany’s Dickson’s husband, Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson II, that night during a shift change at the Blooming Grove barracks in rural Pike County. Trooper Alex Douglass suffered a gunshot wound to the back as he tried to pull Dickson to safety.
The 34-year-old self-described “survivalist” then led state and federal law enforcement agencies on a six week manhunt through the Pocono mountains before authorities captured him outside of an abandoned airplane hangar. A jury sentenced him to death in April for first degree murder and nearly a dozen other related charges, though the state’s indefinite moratorium on executions makes it unlikely the punishment will ever be carried out.
Frein’s attorneys requested a new sentencing hearing in May after blaming Dickson’s emotional testimony for clouding jurors judgment. The motion was denied. Michael Weinstein, one of Frein’s attorneys, said he expected the judge’s ruling and believes the case will work its way up to the state’s highest court.