Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an execution warrant for the man convicted of Philadelphia police officer Lauretha Vaird’s murder.
Christopher Roney, who was convicted of killing Vaird during a January 1996 bank robbery in Feltonville on Rising Sun Avenue, is scheduled to be executed on January 8th of next year. Vaird, who was wearing a bulletproof vest without its protective panels, was killed by a single shot to the abdomen; she was the first female officer killed in the line of duty.
Vaird was a popular officer on the police force. She constantly carried around giant black bags, and two officers called her “The Bag Lady.”
“Back on June 20, 1986, I had the opportunity to meet Laurie,” officer Richard Safford eulogized at Vaird’s funeral. “She sat in the midst of us in class. There were more men than women there. She gained our respect immediately. And when she came to the 25th [Police District], it did not change. She gained respect there immediately, too.”
Before he was convicted of the killing, Roney was known as Cool C and released five albums on Ruffhouse Records. An accomplice in the robbery, Warren McGlone — better known as Steady B — was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His uncle said after Vaird’s murder that the duo rapped with Will Smith when they were all kids.
A third accomplice, Mark Canty, was also sentenced to life in prison without parole. Cool C has maintained his innocence — he and his mother both said he was home cooking breakfast at the time — but a mountain of evidence convinced jurors to convict and seek the death penalty.
A Boys and Girls Club is Feltonville is named in Lauretha Vaird’s memory.