November 6, 2015 |
IMAGINE BEING locked in a dank, dark basement. Starved. Forced to defecate and urinate in a shared bucket. Beaten. Imagine having your two children, whom you had with a person you cared about, snatched away from you. Imagine being moved from state to state, held captive - all because you are mentally disabled and your captor wants your Social Security benefits. This happened to Tamara Breeden, of Philadelphia. For 10 years. From 2001 to 2011. Yesterday, after her captor, Linda Ann Weston, was sentenced to life in prison plus 80 years, Breeden, 33, happily told reporters: "I'm free!"
October 26, 2015 |
The old bandleader spends most days in his basement now, alone among his memories, his black-and-white photographs. The ones from Palumbo's, the legendary Italian Market restaurant and nightclub that burned down in 1994, and where the bandleader went from a teenage sax player to a man whose name was no longer singular. Where Carmen DiPipi of South Clarion Street became Carmen Dee and His Orchestra. But now the photos are all that's left. The last member of the original lineup died last winter.
October 7, 2015 |
The woman who pleaded guilty to enslaving and torturing disabled adults in a Tacony basement now wants to change her plea to not guilty, according to a handwritten motion filed with the court. Linda Weston agreed last month to accept a life term plus 80 years after admitting to all 196 federal counts filed against her, including charges of murder, kidnapping, sex trafficking, hate crimes, forced labor, and benefits fraud. The deal spared her a potential death sentence. Now she has asked the court to change her plea and to hold a competency hearing to evaluate her mental health.
September 11, 2015 |
Linda Weston - the Philadelphia woman charged with enslaving and torturing disabled adults for years in a Tacony basement so she could steal their benefit checks - pleaded guilty Wednesday in a deal that spared her a potential death sentence. Instead, she agreed to accept a life term plus 80 years after admitting to all 196 federal counts filed against her including charges of murder, kidnapping, sex trafficking, hate crimes, forced labor, and benefits fraud. Weston, 55, appeared addled and confused through much of Wednesday's hearing, at one point loudly proclaiming she wanted to enter a "not-guilty plea" before quietly reversing herself.
August 10, 2015 |
SAN DIEGO - Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro garnered much attention as the key position players the Phillies received from the Texas Rangers for Cole Hamels. Both players are intriguing prospects and important building blocks for the rebuilding franchise. It might be easy to forget, however, that one of their 2014 teammates in double-A Frisco is already playing for the Phillies, and doing so quite effectively. Odubel Herrera, the Phillies' Rule 5 draft pick-turned-everyday centerfielder, continues to produce regardless of where interim manager Pete Mackanin pencils him into the lineup.
June 16, 2015 |
The first time Fallon Postell remembers water cascading down the 5100 block of Wyalusing Avenue in West Philadelphia was 1994. She was 11 and, still in her flannel pajamas, she followed her mother out to dry land. In 2004, it took Fire Department boats to rescue her and her family from their flooded block. On Sunday, Postell, now 32, awoke to find yet another deluge headed toward her door. "All I could think was 'Oh, no. Not again,' " she said. An early-morning water-main break sent at least 10 million gallons gushing down the block, buckling pavement and damaging about 40 homes and more than a dozen vehicles.
June 15, 2015 |
If someone had told me three months ago that the hundreds of thousands of books I saw sitting unused and going to waste in the basement of Philadelphia School District headquarters would by now be almost fully catalogued, ready to be shipped to the kids who need them, I probably wouldn't have believed it. I might have even laughed. The task at hand seemed simple enough: There were a lot of unused books and a lot of kids who need books. Sort the books and give the kids any they could use. But in a drowning district, nothing's simple.
April 29, 2015 |
A Harrowgate woman was charged with false imprisonment after she locked her four children in the basement of their home for more than 12 hours, police say. In addition to false imprisonment, Charnae Lee, 29, faces charges of unlawful restraint, endangering the welfare of a child, and recklessly endangering another person. Police said one of her children called 911 from a cellphone at 1:31 p.m. Sunday and said he and his three siblings were locked in the basement in a home on the 1900 block of East Atlantic Street.
April 16, 2015 |
I STEPPED through a hole in the wooden fence surrounding the Mantua home and beheld the filthy wonder of the once-majestic property. The yard was shin-deep in trash. The second floor's bay window was gone, opening a huge hole to the elements. An extension cord ran from the house to an alley light, dangerously affixed there by God-knows-who. As I picked my way past another missing window, the spring breeze caught the stench of feces (Animal? Human? Does it matter?), jolting me to my senses.
April 10, 2015 |
TATTOOS WERE everywhere in Courtroom 608 yesterday. Men with dollar signs on their hands sat by women with stars on their cheekbones in the Criminal Justice Center. Some had lips on their necks and roses peeking out from their cleavage, and at least one man had a tattoo inside his ear that just looked like engine grease. Gary Valecce, 53, sat in the gallery with them all, the right sleeve of his jacket pulled up to reveal a dark tattoo with hints of blue and emerald green from his elbow to his wrist.