June 27, 2014
Before lawmakers congratulate themselves on proposals to trim one of the most bloated legislatures in the nation, they need to scrap companion cuts slated for the state appellate courts. No question, there's room for spirited debate on the merits of shrinking the state House by 25 percent, from 203 to 153 members, and reducing the state Senate from 50 to 45 members. But the suggestion that the state's busiest appellate court could sacrifice four of its 15 judges, with another pair lopped off the state's seven-member Supreme Court, hasn't been tested.
June 23, 2014 |
DONTE WALKER, the teen arrested in January for smuggling a gun into a Philadelphia charter school before it was used to shoot two students, was sentenced yesterday to 6 to 23 months in jail followed by three years of probation. The ruling by Common Pleas Judge Michael Erdos calls for Walker, 19, to be paroled from jail on July 5 and requires him to perform 30 hours of community service for each year he is on probation. He pleaded guilty May 27 to carrying a firearm in public, possessing a weapon on school property and recklessly endangering another person.
May 14, 2014 |
The mother of a girl held captive and tortured for nearly a decade in Linda Weston's Tacony apartment should have objected earlier if she believed her daughter was in danger, and she cannot now sue the city for violating her parental rights, a federal judge has ruled. With that, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick dismissed a civil suit filed by Weston's sister Vickie against various local officials she blamed for failing to ensure daughter Beatrice's care. Beatrice Weston - who was placed in her aunt's custody in 2002 - was found in 2011, days after police discovered four mentally disabled adults locked in Linda Weston's fetid basement.
May 9, 2014 |
Zachary Woods was enjoying a pivotal time in his life. After spending five years working in China, the 27-year-old had just begun classes at the Wharton School on Monday. He was planning to propose to his girlfriend next month. But while walking to classes Tuesday, the native of New York state was struck by a car in a freak accident that flung him off an elevated section of Walnut Street. He died that night at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. A distraught family member who asked not to be identified recounted his life and his dreams, and struggled to understand how he could suddenly be dead.
April 24, 2014 |
As 14-year-old Nathaniel Wells recalled, "We started busting on them. " It was Wells and two teen boys on one side of 19th Street in South Philadelphia and two teenage girls on the other, taunting each other about looks and clothes. It was harmless until it wasn't, when 14-year-old Azim Chaplin looked up and said: "I'm stabbed. " "I lifted up his shirt and just saw blood," Wells said. Wells' testimony on Tuesday persuaded a Municipal Court judge to order 15-year-old Amber Hellesten to stand trial on a charge of third-degree murder in the Feb. 11 stabbing that killed Chaplin in a confrontation in the 2100 block of Watkins Street.
April 22, 2014 |
BILL McMONAGLE went to work every morning wearing a bulletproof vest. He needed it because part of his job was to go after deadbeat dads, who frequently weren't happy about having to fork over support payments to women they no longer loved. Bill was shot at, hit over the head with a banister post, and, of course, regularly threatened and raked by verbal abuse. It was part of the job. Bill McMonagle was head of the Philadelphia Family Court bench-warrant unit. He not only tracked down deadbeat dads, but he also found children who had been kidnapped by irate parents, usually fathers.
April 11, 2014 |
AT LESS than 5 feet tall, Zaria Estes could have been mistaken for a middle-school student in court yesterday. She seemed unsure of the meaning of the word "waive" - as in waiving one's right to a preliminary hearing. But Estes, 15, who was arrested along with two of her friends last month, is the one accused of using a brick to attack a female Temple University student who was walking with her boyfriend on Norris Street near 17th, the District Attorney's Office said. During the March 21 attack, the Temple student was battered with the brick numerous times, causing extensive damage to her face and mouth, authorities said.
March 27, 2014 |
WHEN THEY MET in 2010, she was 14 and he, a silver-haired 72-year-old, was old enough to be her grandfather. They met at Courtesy Stables in Andorra. She rode horses. Walter Sasse, a retired Philadelphia cop who spent 18 years on horseback in the elite Mounted Patrol, supervised the barn. At first, everything was ordinary, she said. But friendly hugs and kisses soon turned into romantic kissing and fondling. That escalated into a 2 1/2-year relationship that included frequent oral sex and masturbation until she ended things in December, she said.
March 20, 2014 |
In a sweeping $500 million-plus project aimed at finally upgrading Philadelphia's worn downtown retail district and spreading Center City's apartment revival east of Broad Street, a development group says it plans to demolish a modest block of stores on Market Street between 11th and 12th - and eventually level or renovate the rest of the block down to Chestnut Street - in favor of a new retail/residential complex. Developers of the complex, to be called East Market, are two Philadelphia concerns, backed by Washington and New York firms.