Fellow officers and loved ones packed a San Franicsco courtroom Thursday afternoon to hear the verdict in the murder trial of one of their own.
The jury found Steven Petrilli guilty of murdering San Francisco police Officer Nick-Tomasito Birco back in 2006. The verdict was for first degree with special circumstances because it happened in the course of a robbery.
Petrilli broke down crying as soon as the verdict was read.
Birco's father had kind words following the verdict. He said while he misses his son, he has forgiven Petrilli. "Mr. Petrilli we forgive you. We are human and make mistakes. To your family no hard feelings." Tomasito Birco said.
Petrilli was driving a van that crashed into officer Birco's patrol car during a police chase.
Birco was 39 when he died. He was a five-year veteran of the police force assigned to the Bayview Station.
Petrilli was 18 at the time. He is now 24.
The trial began in mid-August.
District Attorney Kamala Harris issued this statement: "We are saddened by Officer Birco’s death and hope that this verdict brings a sense of peace and closure to Officer Birco’s family and members of the San Francisco Police Department."
His sentencing date has not been set yet, but his next court date is October. He could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.