Delaware County to seek death penalty for former cop who shot and killed ex-girlfriend


A former cop in Delaware County accused of killing his ex-girlfriend after she got back together with her husband will face the death penalty, prosecutors in Delaware County announced Tuesday.

Stephen Rozniakowski, who worked as a part-time officer in Colwyn Borough, was arrested in December 2014 after he allegedly broke into Valerie Morrow’s home, shot her and her daughter while wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a police radio. His rampage was stopped after the victim’s husband, Thomas Morrow, a cop in nearby Morton Borough, shot and wounded Rozniakowski.

“Sometimes, justice merits death,” Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said.

Morrow’s daughter, Bridgette Cruz, 15, survived the shooting after hiding in her bedroom amid a gun battle between Rozniakowski and her stepfather. She appeared in court with a guardian, a scar visible on her bicep where she was shot.

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Whelan said she had kicked the gun from the wounded gunman’s hand to escape her bedroom.

Officer Morrow, who emptied his clip, fled through a bedroom window to a neighbor’s house to call 911. That’s when officers heard Rozniakowski’s voice over his police radio tell dispatchers that he was unarmed.

Dispatchers asked who the suspect was.

“I am the actor,” Rozniakowski replied, according to court documents.

Rozniakowski was awaiting trial for stalking another woman at the time of the murder and had been served with a protection from abuse order obtained by Morrow three hours before the killing.

Police had seized Rozniakowski’s gun when they served the PFA. He apparently had another one, along with a police radio and a bulletproof vest he wore to the shooting.

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The decision to seek the death penalty comes amid a moratorium on executions imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf. Prosecutors across the state are challenging that moratorium.

Whelan said he believes the governor’s decision is unconstitutional.

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