William J. Otis

William J. Otis, an officer with the Pittsburgh Police Department, was shot and killed when responding to a report of a home burglary on Center Avenue in Oakland on March 3, 1971. That report was made by John O. Hall, an administrator at the University of Pittsburgh.

When Otis responded and entered Hall’s home, Hall mistook him for the burglar and shot him. Charged with involuntary manslaughter, Hall was acquitted at trial on November 26, 1971.

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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