We previously covered the arrest of long-time Philadelphia felon Maurice Hill after he shot six police during a standoff at his rowhome. Thankfully, all of the officers survived and have been released from the hospital, but the details of the nearly fatal encounter are still emerging. We already knew that a lawyer of Hill’s acquaintance contacted him by phone and later showed up in person to help convince him to surrender before he wound up dead. But it turns out that the city’s District Attorney, Larry Krasner, had also been on the phone with Hill. They were discussing what sort of a sentence Hill could expect if he surrendered and Krasner admits he was feeding him a fantasy. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“Early on, I said 25 [years], then he said 20 and I said OK,” Krasner recounted Friday. At one point, Hill insisted on a deal in writing. Krasner started writing a draft, but did not finish it.
The conversation occurred 4½ hours after the standoff began, as officers were still being treated at hospitals, and 3 hours before it ended with Hill’s surrender and no more bloodshed. In an interview Friday, Krasner described his offer as a “phony baloney” agreement that he had no intention of honoring — and said Hill’s lawyer was in on the ruse.
“We need to be clear here: This was bulls— from the beginning,” Krasner said.
So Kasner offered Hill 20 years verbally, but we don’t know if his attorney repeated that offer. Some legal experts are already speculating that this could cause problems for the prosecution because if the attorney, Shaka Johnson, had been officially retained by Hill at that point, there would have been an obligation to tell Hill that it was a bogus (or “bull___”) offer. But did Johnson even know the details? Also, Krasner never even delivered a written offer. He threw out the draft copy of it he started.
I would hope that the courts wouldn’t allow something like this to gum up the works, but we’ve seen stranger things happen. Still, there were already six cops shot. Two more were trapped in an upper level of the house. Four hostages were in handcuffs and trapped in there with Hill. I would think the courts could support telling Hill they were bringing him a stripper in a cake at that point if it got him out of the building with no further shooting and ended the crisis.
Meanwhile, as shocking as it may sound, there were people actually planning a rally in support of the shooter last night. Considering the fact that people were harassing the cops during the standoff, perhaps that’s just par for the course in that neighborhood. Yesterday afternoon they claimed to be expecting “hundreds” of people to show up in support of the shooter. As it turns out, three people showed up for the rally. There were actually more cops there than Hill supporters, so perhaps that’s a hopeful sign.
Hill has a few arraignment and other court dates coming up presently. He’s expected to face enough charges of attempted murder of police officers to keep him in jail for the rest of his life. Assuming they don’t blow the prosecution because of this “offer.”