ADAMS COUNTY, Pa. – The United States Supreme Court denies a petition by convicted killer Christopher Johnson to vacate his death sentence for the 2010 murder of Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove. Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner announced the high court’s decision.
Wagner said, “Adams County Judge Michael George and the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court have both ruled that the death penalty is appropriate and applicable concerning the heinous intentional killing of Wildlife Conservation Office David Grove by the defendant. Now the United States Supreme Court has determined that defendant’s arguments are meritless by refusing to grant certiorari in this case”.
On November 11, 2010, Johnson shot Officer Grove while he was investigating a deer poaching incident. Based on the evidence presented at the trial, Johnson fired 15 shots at Officer Grove with the fatal wound to the back of Officer Grove’s neck, while he was unarmed. Johnson was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death on October 4, 2012.
“While this case will likely be subject to many more appeals by the defendant, I am confident that justice has been properly handed down to Officer Grover’s killer. Pennsylvania law calls for the ultimate consequence when someone intentionally kills a law enforcement officer acting in the line of duty. The sentenced rendered in this case is appropriate and deserved.” said Wagner.
Wagner also said that denial of the petition by the U.S. Supreme Court ends Johnson’s direct appeals concerning his first degree murder conviction and death sentence. Johnson’s next appellate step would be to file a Post Conviction Relief Act petition with the Adams County Court of Common Pleas.