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NEWS
December 20, 2013 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
WEST CHESTER A Chester County man who hanged and electrocuted dogs as part of a fighting ring run from his basement has been ordered to serve 71/2 to 15 years in state prison. Shane Santiago of West Brandywine Township referred to dogs as "livestock" and thought he had a responsibility to kill animals if they did not live up to their capabilities, according to the prosecutor. His sentencing Tuesday in Chester County Court closed a case that began a year ago when investigators found a blood-splattered fighting ring, training tools, and maimed dogs in a West Brandywine home.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Carolyn Davis, Inquirer Staff Writer
NORRISTOWN After a request from Montgomery County, Chester County Senior District Judge Susann E. Welsh has been assigned to preside over the rape proceedings of former Montgomery County GOP leader Robert J. Kerns while it is in District Court. Once the case moves to County Court, a state court spokesman said, another judge from outside the county could be appointed. The neighboring jurist is expected to be on the bench for Kerns' preliminary hearing, scheduled for Friday. Welsh was a Chester County District Judge for 18 years before she stepped down and became a senior judge who works on an as-needed basis.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
In what the defense and prosecution agreed was a rare decision, a Chester County Court judge has thrown out an aggravated-assault conviction against a man found guilty of beating his girlfriend. It marked the first time in decades that a judge has overruled a jury's verdict in the county, according to District Attorney Tom Hogan. "One of the bedrock principles of criminal law is that a jury's verdict is not to be disturbed," said Hogan, who has said he will appeal if Senior Judge Ronald Nagle does not change course.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
WEST CHESTER Former District Judge Rita Arnold has been ordered back to prison by a judge who declined to reconsider her sentence in light of her ongoing treatments for breast cancer. Arnold, who pleaded guilty in June to concealing a citation filed against her son, hung her head Tuesday as the judge ordered her to finish serving out the 16- to 32-month prison sentence he imposed in October. Behind her, more than 25 friends and family members who packed the Chester County courtroom erupted in sobs and screams.
NEWS
December 18, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Carol Seaton lives beside the Brandywine River in the genteel precincts of southern Chester County. On crisp and icy days, "it looks like a Currier and Ives painting around me," said Seaton, referencing the iconic 19th-century winter tableaux of snorting horses pulling sleek sleds through snowy woods. But while the world around Seaton shimmers, her own life is burdened by tribulation. A frequent patron of the West Chester Food Cupboard, Seaton, 58 and widowed with no children, lives in poverty in a tiny log cabin in Pocopson Township, where the median household income is in excess of $120,000 a year.
NEWS
December 11, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The missing heart of a dead Marine from Chester County is at the center of an international mystery that threatens to entangle two governments in a Philadelphia court battle. On Monday, the family of Sgt. Brian LaLoup, a 21-year-old embassy security officer who killed himself last year while stationed in Athens, Greece, accused officials there of removing his heart during an illegal autopsy. Later, they said, Greek officials tried to pass off another heart as their son's. And while U.S. military officials knew LaLoup's remains were incomplete, they let his body be buried anyway and lied to his parents about it, a lawyer for his family contends.
NEWS
December 6, 2013 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
WEST CHESTER Kim Robson was at her real estate job when she received a call that would last for two terrifying hours and leave the 23-year-old West Chester woman shaken. "We have your dad hostage," Robson said a man screamed into her cellphone. "Leave work right now. " The caller, who identified himself as "Robert," said her father had been involved in a car accident with the caller's brother. The father declined to give his insurance or other information, an altercation followed, and now he was being held at gunpoint with Robert demanding $1,000 for repairs, Robert said.
NEWS
November 24, 2013 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
WEST CHESTER When Megan Henry took in a 2-year-old foster child, she had no idea that one day he would become a member of her family. She was 21, taking online college courses, and working toward a psychology degree that she wanted to put to use. Shaun came to her as a traumatized toddler with autism and behavioral and emotional problems. He had never bonded with anyone. But the pair fell in love almost instantly. She knew the adoption process would be difficult, but they needed each other.
NEWS
November 22, 2013 | By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Eighteen first graders gathered in Carol Baker's classroom at Hillsdale Elementary School in West Chester for a treat last week - a visit by local author Bruce Larkin. All had read some of Larkin's hundreds of books. Standing at the top of the class was a 6-year-old named Cole, who said he had read more than 200. "I like the nonfiction," Cole said, "so I can learn about stuff that happens. " Larkin, of Westtown, is not a father, but his words regularly connect with children like Cole.
NEWS
November 8, 2013 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
The judge who sentenced former Magisterial District Judge Rita Arnold to 16 to 32 months in prison for concealing a citation filed against her son has agreed to weigh at a hearing next month whether the punishment was appropriate. Arnold was sentenced by Senior Judge John Braxton on Oct. 15. Her attorney, Heidi Eakin, had requested house arrest in part because Arnold is undergoing treatment for a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. "This sentence was way over the top of the guidelines," Eakin said.
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