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Dungeon

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NEWS
October 31, 1991 | By Cece Lentini, Special to The Inquirer
The Bride of Dracula, standing perhaps 40 inches tall and weighing about 35 pounds, walked primly down the front steps of the old Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly Saturday afternoon. Calm and composed, there was not even a hint that the vampires, monsters and demons she had just left at the Haunted Dungeon inside had bothered her one bit. Every blond hair beneath her lacy veil was in place. The heavy black makeup ringing her eyes and the white powder covering her face were unmarred by tears.
NEWS
January 18, 1993 | by Robert Gearty and Patrice O'Shaughnessy, New York Daily News
Seeking evidence of other victims, police combed the dungeon over the weekend where John Esposito allegedly held Katie Beers captive. Esposito was put on suicide watch after threatening to kill himself. Earth-moving equipment was used yesterday to excavate the dungeon behind Esposito's home in Bay Shore, Long Island, said Lt. Dominick Varrone, who is heading the investigation. Evidence found so far, he said, includes a mattress with "red stains . . . that didn't belong to (Katie)
NEWS
October 21, 2011 | Staff Report
The parents of one of the Tacony dungeon captives want to thank their daughter's rescuers and plan to seek custody of her two children, their lawyer said today. Steven G. Wigrizer said 29-year-old victim Tamara Breeden's children are among the 10 children linked to the case and now in the care of the Department of Human Services. He said Breeden's parents, Wilbert and Peggy Wanamaker, who live in Kensington, plan to seek temporary custody of their two grandchildren, believed to be ages 2 and 7. "The Wanamakers want to thank the residents of Longshore Avenue who first noticed and reported the suspicious behavior that led to the rescue of their daughter," Wigrizer, of Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller, said today in a statement.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 14, 2007 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
Man of La Mancha ran for more than six years (1965-1971) on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards. The big-name movie version followed (Peter O'Toole, Sophia Loren), followed in turn by starry stage revival after starry stage revival. So it's hard to believe that any human being on the planet hasn't seen the show, much less a theater critic (who has actually taught Cervantes' Don Quixote), but there it is. So this won't be one of those irritating comparative reviews, since I have nothing to compare this production at the Walnut Street Theatre to. I can safely say it's a good cast with good voices.
NEWS
September 6, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
Linda Weston, charged with murder in the Tacony dungeon case, is scheduled to appear in court next week for a "change of plea" hearing. Weston pleaded not guilty in February 2014 after being charged in a 196-count indictment alleging that she and others kidnapped mentally disabled adults and enslaved them to steal their government benefit checks. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in federal court in Philadelphia. Documents accompanying the hearing announcement were sealed. Neither prosecutors nor lawyers representing Weston, 55, could be reached for comment Friday.
NEWS
October 3, 1998 | By Richard V. Sabatini, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Bucks County woman accused of operating a sex dungeon in the basement of her pricey Lower Makefield home pleaded guilty yesterday to prostitution and related offenses and was sentenced to one year of probation. Donna Gorton, 50, who is suffering from terminal cancer and whose health is declining, entered the plea before Bucks County Judge Kenneth G. Biehn and was immediately sentenced. Gorton could have faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted on all charges, but consideration was given to her "grave medical situation," said Lisa Backenstoss, the assistant Bucks County district attorney handling the case.
NEWS
October 21, 2011 | By Kia Gregory, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The parents of one of the Tacony dungeon captives want to thank their daughter's rescuers and plan to seek custody of her two children, their lawyer said today. Steven G. Wigrizer said 29-year-old victim Tamara Breeden's children are among the 10 children linked to the case and now in the care of the Department of Human Services. He said Breeden's parents, Wilbert and Peggy Wanamaker, who live in Kensington, plan to seek temporary custody of their two grandchildren, believed to be ages 2 and 7. Peggy Wanamaker's maiden name is Breeden.
NEWS
September 10, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
LINDA ANN WESTON, the accused mastermind of a decadelong scheme to kidnap and keep mentally disabled victims hostage - including four adults found malnourished in a locked Tacony dungeon in 2011 - is expected to plead guilty this morning in federal court. Weston, 55, her then-boyfriend, another man and her daughter were arrested in October 2011 after police discovered the four mentally disabled victims locked in a squalid, urine-reeking sub-basement of an apartment building on Longshore Avenue.
NEWS
February 2, 2012 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Whether Texas street preacher Eddie Ray Wright is a victim, like the four people found captive in a Tacony basement - or is part of the alleged conspiracy to steal their government benefits - is a question a Philadelphia jury will decide. After an hour-long second preliminary hearing for Wright on Thursday, Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick ordered Wright held for trial on assault, kidnapping, conspiracy, and related charges. On Oct. 15, police responding to a complaint found four mentally challenged adults - malnourished, abused, and locked in a fetid basement boiler room in the 4700 block of Longshore Avenue.
NEWS
October 24, 2011 | Staff Report
Correction: The defendants did not appear in court, as reported earlier. A judge today set Dec. 19 for a daylong preliminary hearing for Linda Ann Weston and her alleged accomplices on charges of enslaving four mentally challenged adults and holding them captive in a dank Tacony boiler room. The defendants did not appear in court for the brief hearing and no pleas were entered. Authorities allege that Weston, 51; her boyfriend Gregory Thomas, 47; and Eddie Wright, 50, held the four in a scheme to collect their Social Security benefits.
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NEWS
December 26, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer
Linda Weston, the Philadelphia woman sentenced to life in prison last month for enslaving and torturing disabled adults for years in a Tacony basement, now says she was "railroaded" by her lawyers into pleading guilty, and is accusing her victims of taking money to lie about her. In a handwritten letter to U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, Weston, 56, maintained she was unaware of what was happening when she accepted a plea deal this year that...
NEWS
November 16, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer, shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
THE FORMER boyfriend of Linda Ann Weston - the woman sentenced last week to life in prison plus 80 years for keeping captive mentally disabled people - was all set to plead guilty Friday. Under a plea agreement, Gregory Thomas Sr., 52, was to plead guilty to all charges in a federal indictment in return for prosecutors' recommending a sentence of 17 to 20 years in prison. But after Richard Barrett, chief of the U.S. Attorney's Public Corruption Unit, gave a summary of facts in the case, and U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe asked Thomas if his role was accurately stated, Thomas said, "No. " What started out as a standard guilty-plea hearing then took a nosedive.
NEWS
November 15, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
Moments from when he was to plead guilty Friday to kidnapping and enslaving disabled adults, Gregory Thomas Sr. demurred. He listened as a prosecutor told the judge how Thomas had assisted his girlfriend in locking the victims in a Tacony basement and nailing the windows shut. Thomas said he did not agree with the facts as presented. "It doesn't sound like you're pleading guilty," U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe told him. "It sounds like you were just a bystander. " The unsatisfied judge left the courtroom, saying Thomas' plea deal was in danger.
NEWS
November 7, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
They calmly sat in the second row of Courtroom 12A on Thursday, while the 90-minute PowerPoint presentation from hell was played. As gruesome details of the Tacony dungeon master's scheme were retold, some in the packed room sobbed. But the four victims of Linda Weston who were there were stoic. The hearing to sentence Weston, who enslaved and tortured disabled adults so she could steal their benefits checks, was a formality. She pleaded guilty to 196 federal counts in September and accepted a prison term of life plus 80 years.
NEWS
September 11, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
IN COURT, Linda Ann Weston didn't appear to be the mastermind of anything. Dressed in a baggy green jumpsuit, her hair tightly woven in braids, Weston, 55, spoke in a soft, mousy voice and at times seemed unsure of what was being asked of her. She has been labeled as the ringleader of a decadelong scheme that kept mentally disabled people hostage to bilk them of their Social Security benefits. Her victims were forced to eat their own and others' feces and drink their own urine.
NEWS
September 6, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
Linda Weston, charged with murder in the Tacony dungeon case, is scheduled to appear in court next week for a "change of plea" hearing. Weston pleaded not guilty in February 2014 after being charged in a 196-count indictment alleging that she and others kidnapped mentally disabled adults and enslaved them to steal their government benefit checks. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in federal court in Philadelphia. Documents accompanying the hearing announcement were sealed. Neither prosecutors nor lawyers representing Weston, 55, could be reached for comment Friday.
NEWS
April 11, 2015 | By Maria Panaritis, Inquirer Staff Writer
A self-described ordained preacher faces the prospect of life in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to federal charges that he helped detain, abuse, and exploit mentally disabled people held captive in what has become known as Philadelphia's Tacony dungeon case. Eddie Ray Wright, 54, became the second of five defendants to plead guilty in a scheme whose alleged ringleader, Linda Ann Weston, is charged with defrauding the Social Security Administration by targeting, confining, and abusing people while stealing their disability benefits.
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