Northeast Times

Execution warrant signed for cop killer

Gov. Tom Corbett last week signed an ex­e­cu­tion war­rant for Borgela Phil­istin, who was con­victed in the 1993 murder of Phil­adelphia po­lice of­ficer Robert Hayes of  Rhawn­hurst. 

Corbett also signed an ex­e­cu­tion war­rant for Mi­chael J. Travaglia, the man con­victed in the 1980 murder of po­lice of­ficer Le­onard Clif­ford Miller of Apollo in West­mo­re­land County.

Phil­istin, now 39, was con­victed of first-de­gree murder in the death of Hayes and ag­grav­ated as­sault in the shoot­ing of Hayes’ part­ner John Marynow­itz. Phil­istin and Travaglia are in­car­cer­ated at the State Cor­rec­tion­al In­sti­tu­tion at Greene, in south­west­ern Pennsylvania.

Phil­istin is sched­uled to die by leth­al in­jec­tion on April 23. Travaglia’s date with death is two days later.

Phil­istin was sen­tenced to death in Feb­ru­ary 1995.

In Septem­ber 2002, Gov. Mark Sch­weiker signed an ex­e­cu­tion war­rant for Phil­istin, but a Phil­adelphia Com­mon Pleas Court judge is­sued a stay.

Around 10 p.m. on June 16, 1993, Hayes and Marynow­itz, as­signed to the 35th Po­lice Dis­trict, made what they thought was a routine stop of a gypsy cab with a de­fect­ive tail­light at the in­ter­sec­tion of Limekiln Pike and An­drews Av­en­ue in West Oak Lane.

Marynow­itz ap­proached the driver’s side, while Hayes walked to the pas­sen­ger’s side, where Phil­istin was seated. The of­ficers saw drugs in the vehicle.

Hayes asked Phil­istin, then a 19-year-old il­leg­al im­mig­rant from Haiti, to lift his hands and to get out of the car. Phil­istin pushed open the car door, knock­ing Hayes off bal­ance. He began fight­ing with the of­ficer.

Marynow­itz ra­di­oed for backup and began as­sist­ing his part­ner. Phil­istin took Marynow­itz’s gun, fired sev­er­al shots and fled. Oth­er of­ficers cap­tured Phil­istin and re­turned him to the scene, where a wit­ness iden­ti­fied him.

Marynow­itz was shot in the head and shoulder and sur­vived, but suffered ser­i­ous in­jur­ies and re­mains in a wheel­chair.

Hayes, who was shot in the eye and stom­ach, died the next morn­ing.

A dec­or­ated Vi­et­nam War vet­er­an, he was sur­vived by his wife Jo-Ann and three sons. 

The Robert S. Hayes Me­mori­al Play­ground, at 9800 Roosevelt Blvd., is named in his memory. A plaque in his memory is in the side­walk at Limekiln and An­drews.

Corbett has signed 26 ex­e­cu­tion war­rants since tak­ing of­fice in 2011.

A Pennsylvani­an has not been ex­ecuted since Gary Heidnik in 1999. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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