No New Trial for Man Serving up to 60 Years for Plotting to Kill 3 Lancaster Cops

A prison inmate challenging his trial conviction for plotting to kill three Lancaster city cops will get no relief.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Tuesday denied Akeem K. Washington’s request for relief of his conviction and 25½-to-60-year prison sentence.

Washington, 32, was convicted last year of three counts of solicitation to murder regarding conversations he had with a cellmate after being arrested in Lancaster city in 2014.

Washington discussed specifically what he wanted to do to the three officers – and one victim’s family – and asked the cellmate for help in carrying out the plan. The cellmate reported the conversations to prison staff and police.

Washington challenged the conviction with three arguments:

- That a mistrial should have been declared because Washington’s prior record was mentioned by a witness.

- That the three victims should not have been allowed to testify.

- That the cellmate was not impeached as a witness based on statements about prior drug offenses.

The state court opinion, written by Judge Mary Jane Bowes, denies the request and all three arguments, addressing the arguments this way:

- The trial judge ordered the jury ignore statements about Washington’s alleged gun record – in fact, the judge told the jury no such record existed.

- The trial judge limited the officers in what they could testify to, specifically how Washington would have learned their names: from the initial arrest incident.

- The jury was instructed on why the cellmate was in prison, so the panel was aware of the cellmate’s criminal activities, which he explained in detail while testifying.