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Trigger Man Died In Shootout With Police

PHILADELPHIA - Two suspects who took part in a bank robbery that led to a city police sergeant's killing have been found guilty of first-degree murder despite neither of them pulling the trigger.

Jurors on Wednesday afternoon also found Eric Floyd and Levon Warner guilty of robbery, conspiracy to commit murder and related charges in connection with the death of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski.

Both Floyd, 35, and Warner, 41, now face the possibility of getting the death penalty at sentencing.

The robbery at a Bank of America branch inside a Port Richmond grocery store and the subsequent slaying of Liczbinski occurred on May 3, 2008.

Floyd and Warner were in the getaway car when authorities say another suspect, Howard Cain, got out and shot the pursuing Liczbinski with an assault rifle on Schiller Street.

Stunned residents and fellow officers rushed to the wounded sergeant's aid at his cruiser, but there was little they could do. Witnesses said Liczbinski had no chance to react before being shot.

The 12-year force veteran died three days shy of his 40th birthday, leaving behind his wife, Michelle, and three children

Police allege Warner was the getaway driver and Floyd handed the weapon to Cain, who was killed later that day in a shootout with police.

Warner was apprehended. But a manhunt for Floyd gripped the city for days until his capture on the eve of Liczbinski's funeral.

Wednesday's jury's verdict came on the third day of deliberations and after a trial that lasted several weeks. One day earlier, the panel had asked questions of the judge regarding the charges.

Defense attorneys had argued that Floyd and Warner had no intention of killing Liczbinski.

Floyd watched most of the trial on closed-circuit television. He had been removed from the courtroom during jury selection after punching his defense attorney. He took the stand briefly last week, testifying he was asleep at the time of the officer's killing and denying any involvement in the shooting or the bank robbery.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey attended much of the four-week trial. He had his arm around Liczbinski's widow when the verdict was announced and moved to pass a box of tissues to one of Warner's sobbing relatives on the other side of the courtroom.

Liczbinski was the first of four Philadelphia force members killed in the line of duty during 2008, and his death came about six months after the caught-on-tape fatal shooting of Officer Chuck Cassidy inside a Dunkin' Donuts.