Award-Winning Pennsylvania Cop Commits Suicide Days Before Trial
An award-winning Pennsylvania state trooper awaiting trial for exposing his penis to a woman as part of a $20 discount on police memorabilia committed suicide Thursday.
Eric Zona, a 19-year veteran of the Pennsylvania State Police, was found dead in a wooded area, according to CBS Pittsburgh.
The 46-year-old cop was scheduled to go to trial on misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and open lewdness on October 31.
Zona, who was one of several cops who won the “DUI Top Gun Award” in 2005, has been on unpaid administrative leave since January.
The incident took place on October 16, 2015 when a 28-year-old woman with whom he was acquainted sent Zona a text message, saying she wanted to purchase state police merchandise from a police store that is not open to the public.
She ended up paying $75 for $95 worth of merchandise, but would have received an even larger discount had she complied with his request to show him her breasts and watch him masturbate.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Barbara Jollie, the woman said Zona escorted her to the store.
“I started looking at jackets and asking prices,” the woman said.
She said Zona was “extremely helpful.”
“I asked if I could get a state police discount. He said, ‘If you show me your (breasts), I’ll give you a discount,’ ” she said. “I was kind of shocked. That’s when I turned around to look at him, and he was holding his (exposed genitals) in his hand.”
Zona told her to touch or brush up against him, she said.
“I said, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ ” she said.
The woman said she “remained calm” and continued shopping, but “was offended.”
When Zona told her that the merchandise she wanted cost $95, she commented that it “was steep.”
Zona exposed himself again and offered a 50 percent discount if she would watch him perform a sex act, she said. She said she walked out with Zona behind her, and he again offered the discount.
“I declined again. I was offended,” she said.
She said Zona repeatedly told her “not to tell anyone about this.”
“Later, I got the text message that said, ‘Shhhhh!’ ” she said.
But she did not remain quiet about the incident, which led to his arrest in January. He pleaded not guilty in April during a hearing that was packed with cops showing their support for the veteran officer.
Under questioning by Zona’s attorney, he insinuated that the woman was not bothered by seeing his penis because she did not “scream or holler or ask to see anyone at the barracks about this.”
Instead, she wrote a check for the merchandise, then stood at her car talking to him before leaving.
But the fact that four dozen cops showed up to his initial hearing to show their support, spilling out into the hallway, indicates they would have taken his side anyway.