Joseph Francis Gaetano, an officer with the Pittsburgh Police Department, was shot and killed on June 10, 1966. Gaetano was escorting Edward E. Bittner, who had been arrested earlier that day for auto theft, through the Public Safety Building when Bittner got control of Gaetano’s weapon and shot him. Bittner fled through a courthouse window and was arrested in the Hill District.
After a failed jail escape and lengthy pre-trial proceedings, Bittner was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. As he was being transported to Western Penitentiary, his wife, Mary Anna, gave him a sawed-off shotgun. In the effort to disarm him, Bittner shot and injured a guard.
An additional term was added to Bittner’s prison sentence as a result. Mary Anna Bittner was also convicted.