Herbert Paul Brantlinger

Herbert P. Brantlinger, a patrolman with the Pennsylvania State Police, was shot and killed in Bridgeville on September 3, 1933. He was investigating gasoline theft at a service station when he was shot by Thomas A. Davis, Jr., 19.

Davis was arrested in Kansas City in February 1934 after leaving a gas station without paying.

Returned to Pittsburgh, Davis was acquitted at trial in May 1934 after more than 40 hours of deliberation. The prosecution had sought the death penalty. The trial court subsequently repudiated the verdict as a result of undue sympathy for the young offender. Jurors disputed that view, stating their verdict reflected a weak case and evidence that Davis was beaten by police to force a confession.

Davis was then extradited to Illinois, where he was convicted of assault.


Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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