Trial underway for man charged with crashing into police car 

The murder trial of a man accused of killing a San Francisco police officer while fleeing several robberies in a stolen van four years ago was underway Monday morning in San Francisco Superior Court.

On July 26, 2006, Steven Petrilli, now 24, was allegedly being chased by police after four robberies earlier that night when he ran a stop sign in The City’s Portola District and crashed into Officer Nick-Tomasito Birco’s http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/thousands_mourn_sfpd_officer2006-08-03T09_00_00.html  patrol car.

Birco, 39, was a five-year veteran of the police force.

Petrilli is facing a host of charges including murder, conspiracy, robbery, vehicular manslaughter in the commission of a crime, and flight from a police officer causing death.

Opening statements began this morning. Prosecutors are asking jurors to convict Petrilli of first-degree murder.

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