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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.
NEWS
April 19, 2014 | By Michael Boren, Inquirer Staff Writer
Officials at the Burlington County Jail should have known about an inmate's heart condition and a hospital's recommendation that he receive follow-up treatment - which his fiancee alleges he was never taken to - before he died Feb. 25, according to medical records provided by her. Jerome Iozzia, 50, of Browns Mills, was one of two inmates who died during a two-month period during the winter amid allegations of neglect, which jail officials have denied....
NEWS
April 17, 2014 | By Vernon Clark, Inquirer Staff Writer
At Community College of Philadelphia, Glenn Martin, a neatly dressed middle-aged man, spoke eloquently Tuesday about how he turned his life around after serving six years in prison for drug crimes in New York. Martin, who earned a college degree while behind bars, said he was inspired to change his life by a correctional officer, fellow inmates, and others. "I'm not the exception. I am someone exposed to exceptional opportunities," Martin told about 200 people attending a daylong program on incarceration sponsored by the Mural Arts Program.
NEWS
April 3, 2014 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
I APOLOGIZE to the corrections officers and supervisors who felt tainted by yesterday's story about Michael "Fat Mike" Davis, who died after an incident at the Philadelphia Detention Center. "The article made us all look like animals," said one of the prison employees who had spoken with my colleague Dana DiFilippo and me about inmate Davis, on the condition of anonymity. They said that Davis had been dragged, facedown, to the Detention Center's psych unit, suffering injuries that his family believes contributed to his death.
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