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NEWS
February 20, 2015 | BY LARA WITT, Daily News Staff Writer wittl@phillynews.com, 215-854-5927
DAWN AND PAUL Sweeney waited with bated breath yesterday as the judge prepared to resentence the now adult man who orchestrated the savage murder of their son, Jason, 12 years ago. From the start of the two-day hearing on the matter, they made clear that they wanted the original sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole to stand for Jason's killer, Nicholas Coia. And they got their wish. Common Please Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd yesterday resentenced Coia, 28, to life in prison without the possibility of parole - upholding the original 2005 sentence of Common Pleas Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes - to the relief of the Sweeney family.
NEWS
January 10, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia man serving life in prison for the 1970 murder of a bar owner was granted parole Thursday after a legal battle over what he alleged was prosecutorial misconduct. Clarence R. Davis, 64, had been sentenced to life without parole for the shooting death of Arthur Gilliard during a shotgun robbery of the Polka Dot Bar near 15th and Clearfield Streets. On Thursday, Davis pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of third-degree murder, as well as robbery and two firearms offenses, in a deal with the District Attorney's Office approved by Common Pleas Court Judge Lillian Harris Ransom.
NEWS
November 13, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
The man accused of violently abducting a 22-year-old woman from a Germantown street last week was appointed a federal defender in his first appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon. Delvin Barnes, 37, spoke only once, to ask U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacob P. Hart for a court-appointed lawyer. Hart said Barnes' monthly income and debt qualified him for a federal defender. Hart also scheduled a detention hearing for Friday. Barnes' newly appointed lawyer, Nina Spizer, said she could not comment on whether she planned to contest detention for her client.
NEWS
October 24, 2014 | By Samantha Melamed, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Mary DeWitt began painting portraits of lifers in the Pennsylvania correctional system - people even prison administrators believed deserved clemency - she was filled with optimism. "It was 1993, 1994, when I started the program, with the idea that they should've been pardoned in the '90s," she recalled. Twenty years later, DeWitt, 65, has painted new portraits of the women - all of whom remained incarcerated. "Then and Now: Women in Prison," an exhibition of portraits from 1996 and 2014, is on view at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral through next Thursday.
NEWS
October 3, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Meek Mill was last seen, on Aug. 18, the rising Philadelphia rapper was in prison clothes while his legal team tried to persuade a judge to parole him early from her three- to six-month sentence for violating probation from a 2009 gun and drug conviction. Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley wasn't moved then. Still isn't. On Monday, Brinkley denied a new petition for early parole filed by the rapper's new lawyer, Tariq K. El-Shabazz. The action signaled that the 27-year-old artist - whose real name is Robert Williams - will likely stay in jail at least until his minimum sentence ends Oct. 11. El-Shabazz, a veteran Philadelphia criminal lawyer, was not immediately available for comment.
NEWS
September 17, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Career criminal Kevin Green last week got a prison sentence that should keep him behind bars the rest of his life. Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Ehrlich on Friday gave the 57-year-old a sentence of 55 to 110 years for a violent North Philadelphia home invasion last year that briefly netted Green and an accomplice $7,713. Green was convicted on July 10 of terrorizing Jose Torres, his wife, Elizabeth Varela, and her autistic son, Joshua, 12, in their home on the 3500 block of North Fifth Street.
NEWS
August 14, 2014 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
William J. Gray, "the Jogging Rapist" who sexually assaulted 16 girls under age 18 in Olney and Northeast Philadelphia during a self-described "raping spree" in 1979, has been denied parole. It's the 10th time that the state has refused parole to Gray, 71, who is serving a sentence of 20 to 50 years in the State Correctional Institution at Waymart, near Scranton. Gray pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape and assault in 1980. The Inquirer, which in June published a series of articles on the Jogging Rapist and his bid to get out of prison, has obtained a copy of a letter sent from the state Office of the Victim Advocate to one of his victims, Susanne Worsham, announcing the denial of parole.
NEWS
August 9, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Philadelphia Police Lt. Aisha Perry seems to have learned that a 10-minute rant at the judge is not the path to freedom. After a brief court appearance in which she said she was "humbled" and sorry, and respected the jury that convicted her of stealing utility services, Perry was paroled Thursday from her six- to 23-month prison term by Common Pleas Court Judge Earl W. Trent. Trent had sent Perry to prison June 12 after two extraordinary in-court tirades, one after a jury found her guilty, and the other when she was sentenced and accused the prosecutor of being a liar "jealous of my lifestyle.
NEWS
August 8, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Aisha Perry seems to have learned that a 10-minute rant at the judge is not the path to freedom. After a brief court appearance in which she said she was "humbled" and sorry and respected the jury that convicted her for stealing utility services, Perry was paroled from her six- to 23-month prison term on Thursday by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Earl W. Trent. Trent had sent Perry to prison on June 12 after two extraordinary in-court tirades, one after a jury found her guilty and the other when she was sentenced and accused the prosecutor of being a liar who was "jealous of my lifestyle.
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