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Associated Press

READING, Pa. - A man charged in the shooting death of a plainclothes police officer two years ago went on trial Monday, with prosecutors seeking the death penalty.
Courtroom spectators wept as prosecutors played the 911 call made when Officer Scott Wertz was shot and killed near City Hall in August 2006. "We got an officer down," an officer said. "I need an ambulance."
Prosecutors said Wertz was chasing Cletus Rivera, 26, of Reading, when Rivera shot him in the chest.
"The sole reason that Officer Wertz is dead sits right there, Cletus Rivera," Brown said," Deputy state Attorney General Karl K. Brown II told jurors in his opening statement.
Wertz, 40, of Spring Township, was working an auto-theft detail at the time of the shooting. He had been responding to a report of a fight, and gave chase when he saw Rivera stuff something down the front of his pants and run, Brown said.
Rivera's attorney, Jay M. Nigrini of Reading, said Rivera didn't know that Wertz was a police officer and acted in self defense.
"Cletus Rivera has lawful justification to shoot Officer Wertz," Nigrini said. "There was nothing outwardly appearing on his body to identify him as a police officer."
A jury was brought in from Northampton County because of extensive media coverage of the case in the Reading area.
On Wednesday, the second anniversary of Wertz' killing, jurors are scheduled to visit the crime scene on North 8th Street.
Reading, a city of more than 80,000, is about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

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