Philly officer charged in obstruction case dies

    A former Philadelphia police officer has died while awaiting trial on charges he conspired with his former brother-in-law to spread false information after being shot while off-duty.

    The Daily News reports a prosecutor informed a judge Tuesday of officer Robert Penn’s death.

    The medical examiner’s office says the 48-year-old Penn died Sept. 5 at Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia.

    His mother and lawyer tell the newspaper they believe the stress from being charged and losing his job contributed to his death.

    Penn was arrested in July on charges of criminal solicitation, criminal conspiracy and obstructing the administration of law. His former brother-in-law, Charles Mays, was also charged.

    Police say Penn paid Mays to call newspapers anonymously and imply Penn’s current wife was involved in the March 2011 shooting.

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