Joseph John Grill and Thomas Lawrence Herron

Officer Joseph Grill and Officer Thomas Herron, partners on the Pittsburgh Police Department, were killed when their car struck another police car while pursuing two stolen vehicles on March 6, 1991. Lawrence Wenko and Walter Wabich, the officers in the other vehicle, were seriously injured. The crash occurred at the intersection of South 26th St. and Sarah St. on the South Side

The stolen vehicles were driven by 15-year old Robert W. Adams, of Wilkinsburg, and 18-year old Erick L. Watson of Garfield.

Due to his youth, Adams received a four-year juvenile sentence in May 1991. Watson pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of homicide by vehicle on August 21, 1991. He was sentenced to 9 1/2 to 29 years in prison on October 9, 1991.


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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