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NEWS
September 14, 2014 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA, Daily News Staff Writer gambacd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5994
GOV. CORBETT granted a temporary reprieve yesterday to Hubert Lester Michael Jr., a longtime Pennsylvania inmate who's expected to be executed for the 1993 rape and murder of a York County teen. Corbett said the reprieve was needed to give the state time to acquire the drugs that are used in a lethal injection. In July, the governor signed a death warrant for Michael - his fourth - calling for the convicted killer to be executed on Sept. 22. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a temporary stay of execution last month, so it could weigh a pending request from Michael's lawyers to have an appeal heard by the entire 3rd Circuit bench.
NEWS
August 22, 2014 | By Samantha Melamed, Inquirer Staff Writer
For the Hearts on a Wire Collective, a grassroots movement to support transgender people in and out of prison, the fate of their fall 2013 newsletter seemed proof that logic was lost in Pennsylvania's correctional system. A member reported that the newsletter, a compendium of drawings, poems, essays, homegrown legal advice, and obituaries, was confiscated at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Fayette - because it contained "information regarding the manufacture of explosives, incendiaries, weapons, escape devices or other contraband.
NEWS
August 3, 2014 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
A man facing charges in a Philadelphia double slaying, a Maryland rape, and an Upper Darby home invasion led police Friday to a wooded park in Delaware County where, he claims, he buried the bodies of a pimp and prostitute that he chopped up two years ago. John Gonce, 30, in a Philadelphia prison awaiting trial in the July 24, 2012, slayings of Rohan Bennett, 13, and Christopher Malcolm, 17, relayed a message Friday through prison officials to...
NEWS
July 22, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
TYRONE WERTS waited in the car while his four buddies walked two blocks to a North Philadelphia speakeasy to commit a robbery on the night of May 6, 1975. Werts, 23, didn't know that the robbery victim had been fatally shot until his accomplices jumped back inside the car. The District Attorney's Office offered Werts a plea bargain of eight to 20 years in prison, but he opted for a jury trial and wound up getting convicted of second-degree murder. That resulted in a mandatory life sentence without parole - the punishment in Pennsylvania state court for first- or second-degree murder.
NEWS
July 22, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
IN THE LATE '90s, John Phillips had everything he'd dreamed of. A street-smart kid from North Philly, he had built a small empire: He owned delis, bought a condo at 17 and drove a tricked-out Lexus, complete with TVs in the headrests hooked up to a Nintendo 64. It was life in the short-term, and it was funded by crime: Phillips was a gang member, a "hustler," by his own admission. Around the same time, Harun Fox was already about 20 years into a life sentence on a first-degree-murder conviction.
NEWS
June 19, 2014 | By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist
Marvae Dunn had no business being in prison. He is severely mentally ill. At age 64, he can barely speak or follow simple instructions. How could he stand trial on first-degree murder charges of shooting his sister-in-law? He never did, yet Dunn's home for seven years was a Philadelphia prison infirmary, until advocates intervened. He was transferred Monday to a state nursing home in Franklin County. "We're subsidizing failure," said his prison chaplain, Phyllis Taylor. The legal system failed Dunn and the taxpayers who bore the cost of his imprisonment.
NEWS
June 17, 2014 | By Melissa Dribben, Inquirer Staff Writer
Marvae Dunn cannot speak. He cannot walk. He cannot follow directions beyond the simplest of commands and does not understand most of what others say to him. And in addition to the two major strokes that landed him in this condition, he is very ill. He has HIV. He is diabetic. And his kidneys are shot, so he requires dialysis three times a week. Dunn, 64, has been in this condition for most of the last seven years, nearly all of which he has spent at the Philadelphia prison infirmary.
NEWS
June 16, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
THE FATE of a federal death-row inmate, who strangled his cellmate in a central Pennsylvanian penitentiary 18 years ago and who has made national headlines, is now in the hands of a federal judge in Philadelphia. David Paul Hammer, an Oklahoma native who is housed on death row in the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., has been appearing via video link in a Philadelphia courtroom for a resentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Joel Slomsky during the last two weeks. His death sentence was vacated by a different judge in 2005.
NEWS
June 6, 2014 | By Barbara Boyer, Inquirer Staff Writer
New Jersey releases a higher percentage of prisoners without supervision and support than most other states, posing a greater danger to the public, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts. More than 41 percent of the state's inmates served a sentence that failed to include supervision upon release, said the report produced by the research organization, which focuses on improving public policy. "It's a commonsense approach to public safety," said Adam Gelb, director of Pew's public safety performance project.
NEWS
May 24, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A West Philadelphia man who admitted stealing four houses and two lots out from under people by forging and recording new deeds was sentenced Thursday to 21/2 to 5 years in prison by a judge who called him a "professional con man. " "This was not aberrant behavior for him," Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn H. Nichols told Dwayne Stewart's defense attorneys. "This is the norm for him. . . . He's had 20 years of this type of behavior. " Nichols said she did not believe Stewart's apologies to his victims, his protestations of personal reform in prison in the 12 months since his arrest, or that his faith in Jesus Christ turned his life around.
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