Seven years after his trooper father lost his life in a shooting outside a Carnegie hotel, Joseph J. Pokorny of Moon Township spoke Friday on behalf of his class of Pennsylvania State Police cadets at graduation ceremonies in Hershey, PA.
Pokorny joined state police Commissioner Frank Noonan and U.S. Sen Robert P. Casey Jr. in presenting remarks during a ceremony at Central Dauphin High School, according to state police officials. The class of 73 men and women is the 135th to graduate since the State Police Academy opened in 1960.
In his remarks, Noonan noted that Pokorny is the first state police cadet to have lost a parent in the line of duty, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News. Pokorny has been assigned to the Troop B station in Washington, PA.
The new trooper is the son of the late Cpl. Joseph R. Pokorny, 45, also of Moon Township, who was shot to death with his own service weapon on Dec. 12, 2005, during a traffic stop off the Parkway West.
When Carnegie police responded, they found the elder Pokorny—a 22-year police veteran and father of a son and a daughter—in the parking lot of the Extended Stay America Suites, suffering from gunshot wounds. The elder Pokorny was assigned to the Troop B station in Moon Township.
Leslie D. Mollett, 32, of Mount Oliver, was later arrested and convicted of first-degree murder in the trooper's slaying following one of Western Pennsylvania's more high-profile investigations and trials of recent years. In 2007, Mollett was sentenced in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to spend life without parole in state prison.
The case also led to several other arrests and the seizure of nearly a half-pound of uncut heroin, about 30,000 unused stamp bags, 1,200 filled stamp bags and additional drug-packaging materials from a room in the hotel.
At the time of his father's death, the younger Pokorny was 17. He graduated from the state police academy and was chosen as speaker of his class following 25 weeks of training.
For a complete list of academy graduates and their assignments, click on the PDF accompanying this article.