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Key Witness

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NEWS
March 2, 2005 | By Jacqueline Soteropoulos INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Justina Morley, the 15-year-old who lured a Fishtown teenager to his death in 2003, began to cry yesterday as she demonstrated how her alleged accomplices attacked Jason Sweeney with a hatchet and a hammer. Morley, now 16, testified that she feels remorse for the brutal slaying and for luring Sweeney to his death with the promise of sex. But in a jailhouse letter to Domenic Coia, one of the defendants, Morley wrote: "I am guilty. But I still don't feel guilty for anything.
NEWS
January 21, 1993 | by Dave Racher, Daily News Staff Writer
The West Philadelphia food store owner was not only the cousin of a jailed enemy of the Junior Black Mafia, he was also the object of affection of a female companion of JBM boss Aaron Jones. That put Bruce Kennedy, 26, in serious jeopardy, a prosecutor said. And on Aug. 18, 1990, two enforcers of the drug syndicate pumped 10 bullets into him with an Uzi as he was making a steak sandwich at Kennedy's Mommie's Food Market, 54th Street near Master. Yesterday, a jury convicted Jones, 30, and two henchmen, Sam Brown, 29, and James Anderson, 21, of first-degree murder.
NEWS
June 1, 2011 | By Sophia Tareen, Associated Press
CHICAGO - Attorneys for a Chicago businessman of Pakistani origin accused in the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks on Tuesday painted the government's chief witness as a serial liar who struck a plea deal to save his life. The witness, David Coleman Headley, whose late mother was a Philadelphia socialite and tavern owner and his late father a Pakistani official, has pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork for the three-day rampage in India's commercial capital. He spent five days on the witness stand detailing how he received orders from a Pakistani extremist group and the country's main intelligence agency to conduct video surveillance in Mumbai.
NEWS
April 10, 1986 | By Vanessa Williams, Inquirer Staff Writer
David Kurzband, the government's key witness in the federal perjury trial of Philadelphia lawyer Robert F. Simone, finished his testimony yesterday and was rushed away wearing dark glasses and surrounded by federal marshals. Except for 25 new pages of transcripts of tape-recorded conversations involving Kurzband, Simone and two other men, most of yesterday's court session in Camden concerned review of testimony that Kurzband had given since he first took the witness stand March 26. Kurzband, 53, a former casino-junket operator who is in the federal witness-protection program, was working as an informant for the FBI when he secretly recorded meetings in 1981, 1983 and 1984 that he had with Simone and reputed mob figures.
NEWS
March 9, 1990 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
John S. Vento, a key witness in the racial killing of a black youth last summer in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, sat down yesterday in a courtroom chair normally reserved for defendants. He stared straight ahead and swallowed hard. Vento, 21, faces a hard choice. He can cooperate with prosecutors and testify that he saw one of his friends fire the shots that killed Yusuf K. Hawkins, 16. Or he can keep his mouth shut and get charged with second-degree murder himself. Once before he apparently made that choice.
NEWS
October 19, 1989 | By Rose Simmons, Inquirer Staff Writer
A key witness against a Coatesville woman who is accused of twice contracting to have her husband murdered tearfully refused to testify against her yesterday in Chester County Court. Craig Hardy told authorities in November that Jean O'Neill, 48, of the 100 block of North Fourth Avenue in Coatesville, promised him money and drugs if he killed her husband, Eugene O'Neill. Hardy, 18, of Wagontown, Chester County, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in May and admitted that he had tried to beat Eugene O'Neill to death with an ax handle provided by Jean O'Neill.
NEWS
February 12, 1986 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Staff Writer
A former defendant in the murder conspiracy case against Robert Marshall yesterday described the prosecution's star witness as a con man who forced others to join his money-making schemes and who avoided paying taxes on his earnings from the ventures. James E. Davis of Shreveport, La., a craggy-faced construction worker with slicked-back hair, testified yesterday that he was often an unwilling partner in Billy Wayne McKinnon's business schemes. He said he was unwittingly drawn into McKinnon's last intrigue, in which Marshall's wife, Maria, was shot to death Sept.
NEWS
May 31, 1987 | By Christine M. Johnson, Special to The Inquirer
For Chester County President Judge Leonard Sugerman, the scene in Courtroom 4 last week was more than familiar. Seated before him wearing leg shackles were the three Johnston brothers, whom he sentenced to consecutive life terms in prison for murdering six people. After being convicted in 1980, Bruce Johnston Sr., 47, Norman Johnston, 37, and David Johnston, 39, were committed to Graterford Prison. Scanning the courtroom as he took the bench Tuesday morning, Sugerman nodded, acknowledging new and old associates.
NEWS
October 2, 1998 | by Dave Racher, Daily News Staff Writer
The 12-year-old girl came to court prepared to relive the nightmare of watching her 51-year-old grandmother shot and killed after a Labor Day cookout on a West Philadelphia street. It wasn't easy, but Tamika Thompson did what she had to do, said Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson. Yesterday, during a preliminary hearing before Municipal Judge James M. DeLeon, Tamika said she saw Anthony Brown, 24, of Girard Avenue near 54th Street, kill Frances Rorie, a mother of six and grandmother of 27, on Conestoga Street near Poplar.
NEWS
August 10, 1989 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lawyer Ruben A. Rodriguez took the stand in his own defense yesterday and denied paying money in 1986 to an aide to former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Kenneth S. Harris in return for not-guilty verdicts in two drug cases. Under questioning by defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Sr., Rodriguez insisted that he had only a casual - rather than corrupt - relationship with the former judicial aide, Conrad R. Cheeks, the key prosecution witness who implicated him in the case-fixing conspiracy.
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NEWS
December 7, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
During his 30 years with the New York mob, Anthony Aponick grew adept at juggling business both legitimate and illegitimate - or, as he described it, "walking and chewing gum at the same time. " But he spent much of Thursday discussing a more ambiguous form of income as he testified for a second day in the racketeering retrial of reputed Philadelphia mob consigliere George Borgesi: money he earned as a professional informant. Between 2002 and 2013, the FBI paid the 42-year-old former Bonanno crime family associate $152,000 for coughing up information on Borgesi, with whom he shared a cell in a federal detention center in West Virginia.
NEWS
September 1, 2013 | By Mike Newall, Inquirer Staff Writer
Langdon Scott has made plenty of wrong choices in his life. On June 27, 2009, he made a smart one. That day, the admitted drug dealer went to the Piazza at Schmidts apartment complex in Northern Liberties looking to buy $4,500 worth of cocaine. When it became clear the men he was riding with were planning a robbery, he bailed. "When you realized what it was, you said, 'I'm not going in there,' Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart told Scott during his sentencing Friday in the murders of Rian Thal, 34, and her friend Timothy Gilmore, inside the Northern Liberties apartment building.
NEWS
January 19, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Strange, awkward, socially inept - witness descriptions of former parochial-school teacher Bernard Shero have been consistent. Prosecutors allege that the traits are consistent with a man who raped a pupil - a 10-year-old altar boy - in the backseat of his car. But, as Shero's lawyer suggests, are they just the personality of a man whose physical disability made him a social outcast and easy target of children's jeers and rumors? Both sides pressed their interpretations Friday on the Philadelphia jury hearing the trial of Shero and the Rev. Charles Engelhardt.
NEWS
November 28, 2012 | By Jeremy Roebuck, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Prosecutors in the case against three former Pennsylvania State University administrators charged in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal contradicted one of their key witnesses in recent court filings - and in doing so appear to have conceded part of a central argument made by the ex-officials' defense. At issue is whether Cynthia Baldwin, the university's chief adviser on legal affairs from 2010 until her resignation this year, was representing former university president Graham B. Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, and former vice president Gary Schultz when they testified before a grand jury investigating Sandusky's crimes in May 2011.
NEWS
November 21, 2012 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
A former Delaware County assistant district attorney was convicted Monday of leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor, after a jury did not find that the injured teen, hospitalized for six days, had suffered serious bodily injury. Michael Donohue, 32, now of Philadelphia, already had been acquitted of the most serious charges Friday in the November 2011 accident, but still could be sent to jail for up to 90 days when sentenced on Dec. 20. Donohue was out drinking with coworkers the night of the crash and was on his cellphone when his Jeep Cherokee struck Jake Vantrieste, then 14, at 10:23 p.m. along Township Line Road, a busy route through Upper Darby.
NEWS
November 20, 2012 | By Mari A. Schaefer, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A former Delaware County assistant district attorney was convicted Monday of leaving the scene of an accident -- a misdemeanor -- after a jury failed to find that the injured teen, hospitalized for six days, had suffered serious bodily injury. Michael Donohue, 32, now of Philadelphia, already was acquitted of the most serious charges on Friday in the November 2011 crash, but still could be sent to jail for up to 90 days when he is sentenced on Dec. 20. Donohue was out drinking with co-workers the night of the crash and was on his cellphone when his Jeep Cherokee struck Jake Vantrieste, then 14, at 10:23 p.m. along Township Line Road, a busy route through Upper Darby.
NEWS
October 4, 2012 | By MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press
HARRISBURG - A former Penn State graduate assistant who complained that he saw former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a young boy on campus and who testified at his sex-abuse trial sued the university on Tuesday for what he calls defamation and misrepresentation. Mike McQueary's whistle-blower lawsuit claims that his treatment by the university since Sandusky was arrested in November has caused him distress, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment. The complaint, filed in county court near State College, where the university is based, seeks millions of dollars in damages.
NEWS
September 28, 2012 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES - A chef who told police he boiled his wife's body for four days to hide evidence of her death was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder. David Viens showed no reaction as the verdict was read. The sister of his victim burst out sobbing. In a recorded interrogation presented by prosecutors during the trial, Viens, 49, can be heard saying that he cooked the body of his wife, Dawn , 39, in late 2009 until little was left but her skull. "He treated her like a piece of meat and got rid of her," said Karen Patterson, the couple's best friend who spoke with reporters outside court.
NEWS
April 17, 2012 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
  HARRISBURG - The culture of Harrisburg politics wasn't what made him do it. He and he alone was responsible for his crimes in the Bonusgate scandal. So said Mike Manzo, a onetime top House Democratic staffer, moments before a judge sentenced him Monday to up to four years in prison. Manzo, who went from Bonusgate defendant to the prosecution's key witness, was sentenced to 18 to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $95,000 in fines and restitution for his role in the wide-ranging conspiracy to use taxpayer money and resources for political gain.
NEWS
April 17, 2012 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A North Philadelphia man accused of killing a 29-year-old bodega clerk because he believed her to be a potential witness against him in another slaying has been ordered to stand trial for murder - in both cases - by a Philadelphia judge. Jorge Aldea, 23, was ordered held for trial in the Jan. 23 shooting of Reyna Aguirre-Alonso at the Caribe Mini Market in the 3300 block of North Mutter Street. Aldea's preliminary hearing Tuesday before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge David C. Shuter was followed immediately by a second hearing after which Shuter ordered Aldea to be tried for the Nov. 24 killing of Louis Chevere, 22, at Westmoreland and Mutter Streets.
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