SF cop killer found guilty, faces life

A 24-year-old man was found guilty of murdering a veteran San Francisco police officer after a high-speed chase in 2006.

The jury deliberated two days before finding Steven Petrilli guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, four counts of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, gross vehicular manslaughter, evading police and causing serious bodily injury or death and driving a stolen vehicle. He faces life without the possibility of parole.

Petrilli was driving a stolen van with three other passengers after committing four separate street robberies in the early morning hours of July 26, 2006, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

After leading police on a high-speed chase through The City, the van struck the patrol car of Officer Nick-Tomasito Birco,  who was responding to the area, at the intersection of Cambridge and Felton streets in the Portola district.

Birco, a five-year veteran of the police force, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The case was prosecuted by San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Eric Fleming.

Two of Petrilli’s passengers are also awaiting trial for murder. Charges against the third passenger, Petrilli’s wife, were dropped.

Fleming worked tirelessly to bring the suspect to justice, District Attorney Kamala Harris said in a released statement.

“We are saddened by Officer Birco’s death and hope that this verdict brings a sense of peace and closure to Officer Birco’s family and members of the San Francisco Police Department,” Harris stated.

Petrilli’s attorney could not be reached for comment. The case is next in court at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 22 to set the sentencing date.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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