Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday signed the execution warrant for 34- year-old Dustin Ford Briggs, who was convicted in the 2004 shooting deaths of Bradford County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael VanKuren and Christopher Burgert.
Briggs, of Gillett, was sentenced to death in Bradford County Court after being convicted of first-degree murder. His execution by lethal injection is scheduled for March 8.
Briggs shot both VanKuren and Burgert while they were attempting to serve with a bench warrant at his father’s residence on Congdon Road in Wells Township.
Briggs is currently incarcerated in the Greene County State Correctional Facility in Waynesburg, Pa.
Briggs’ warrant was the 11th execution warrant that Corbett has signed since taking office in 2011.
The last execution to take place in Pennsylvania was on July 6, 1999, when Gary M. Heidnik was executed by lethal injection for his conviction in the murders of Sandra Lindsay and Deborah Dudley.
Briggs is the third Bradford County defendant to be placed on death row in 18 years.
In 1994, Terry Chamberlain was given the death penalty after being convicted of murdering his wife and her boyfriend in 1991. In 1996, John Kohler was sentenced to death for the socalled “Hit Man Killings,” which involved Kohler training Bradford County resident William Curley to be a hit man. A woman and her child were murdered in the Kohler case.
Both Chamberlain and Kohler remain on death row, although orders of executions were signed by previous Pennsylvania state governors.