April 24, 2014 |
FEDERAL prosecutors in Philadelphia are awaiting a decision by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on whether the government should seek the death penalty for Linda Ann Weston. Weston, 54, is the accused mastermind of a decadelong scheme to kidnap and keep mentally disabled victims hostage - including four disabled adults found malnourished in a locked Tacony dungeon in 2011 - to bilk them of their Social Security benefits. At a status hearing yesterday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Faithe Moore Taylor told U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe that the decision had not been made, but that her office had requested an expedited review.
April 5, 2014 |
Maintaining his innocence - but wanting to avoid a possible death sentence - a Florida man allegedly linked by DNA to the 1996 rape and murder of a Kensington teen has agreed to a nonjury trial. Rafael Crespo appeared before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart on Thursday and waived his right to a trial by jury in the slaying of 17-year-old Anjeanette Maldonado. Minehart set Sept. 8 for a three-day bench trial, though he heard brief testimony from the girl's mother, Paulette Smith.
March 26, 2014 |
A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dismissed litigation to reform the way Philadelphia reimburses lawyers appointed to defend indigent clients facing the death penalty. The four-justice majority filed an unsigned per curiam order Friday that did not explain why the jurists, including Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, decided to end the case. The majority thanked Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner for his "exemplary efforts and analysis. " Castille named Lerner in 2011 to study allegations that Philadelphia's pay scale for lawyers appointed to capital cases was so low it violated their clients' constitutional right to effective counsel.
March 7, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Mumia Abu-Jamal, a name that for more than three decades has stirred emotional divisions in Philadelphia and across oceans, was at the center of a stunning defeat for President Obama on Wednesday as the Senate blocked a presidential nominee who had worked on the convicted cop killer's death penalty appeal. By a 52-47 vote, Republicans and eight Democrats blocked a key procedural step in the nomination of Debo Adegbile, a former NAACP lawyer whom Obama had tapped to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
January 28, 2014
All together, jog Even in her attempt to be humorous, Sally Friedman - by lamenting the intrusion of new members at her health club - reinforced the notion among young people that today's seniors are the Greediest Generation ("January's fitful fitness," Jan. 19). She resents new members using her equipment, and looks forward to March, when many will quit. No doubt new members are younger and in need of advice and encouragement, not put-downs. Obesity-related diseases kill too many Americans, but are largely preventable if more of us would exercise and eat smarter.
January 17, 2014
HAROLD MURRAY IV, 36, is getting another shot at justice. Marcus Perez, 43, is waiting for his. Murray was convicted in a 2005 revenge-murder in which the victim and her fetus died. He was sentenced to death for each. One problem: Defendants can't receive the death penalty in Pennsylvania for the death of a fetus, something the Montgomery County prosecutor, the defense attorney and the judge apparently didn't know. Heinous crime or not, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has now ordered a new penalty hearing for death of the fetus - even as the death penalty for the mother remains intact.
January 16, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA Edward Bracey had decided he was not going back to jail - and that no officer would stand in his way. Driving a stolen Buick that February night in 1991, with a 9mm pistol in his lap, the wanted felon told a cohort: "No cop's going to thump on me. " So, when Bracey crashed his vehicle at Eighth Street and Germantown Avenue while evading a traffic stop, Bracey jumped out and leaped onto the hood of rookie patrolman Daniel Boyle's...
January 15, 2014 |
Update: Districty Attorney's Office said it is considering appealing the judge's ruling but will wait to study the it before deciding. Prosecutors noted that in 1998 Edward Bracey, convicted of killing Officer Danny Boyle, presented three witnesses who testified he was not mentally retarded. --- A Philadelphia judge, citing a constitutional restriction against executing people defined as mentally retarded, has vacated the death sentence of a man convicted of killing a city police officer in 1991.
January 4, 2014 |
The Indian immigrant accused of murdering a grandmother and her infant granddaughter in King of Prussia in 2012 claimed Thursday that he was coerced into confessing during 17 hours of detention and interrogation. Testifying at a pretrial hearing in Norristown, Raghunandan Yandamuri said police pressured him to cooperate and confess. In earlier court filings, Yandamuri denied that he killed the two. "They are forcing me," he said. "They are saying, 'You did it.' " Yandamuri's comments came during nearly two hours of often rambling testimony as his lawyers asked a judge to bar his confession from trial.
December 27, 2013 |
Tracy and Mike Riley celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary eating Wawa sandwiches on the floor of their living room, surrounded by autopsy photos and grisly police reports. "I think we could be married 50 years, and that will be one of the most memorable and most enjoyable anniversary dinners we've ever had," Tracy Riley said this month at the Mount Holly law office she shares with her husband. The Rileys, who have been married for 19 years, work side by side in one of the few husband-wife law firms in the state.