April 24, 2014 |
FEDERAL prosecutors in Philadelphia are awaiting a decision by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on whether the government should seek the death penalty for Linda Ann Weston. Weston, 54, is the accused mastermind of a decadelong scheme to kidnap and keep mentally disabled victims hostage - including four disabled adults found malnourished in a locked Tacony dungeon in 2011 - to bilk them of their Social Security benefits. At a status hearing yesterday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Faithe Moore Taylor told U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe that the decision had not been made, but that her office had requested an expedited review.
April 4, 2014 |
WHEN YOU'RE at home plate and a baseball barrels toward your head, the smart thing to do is to get out of the way. Ah, but when the pitcher aims his curveball at your ear and the ball breaks over the plate, a bailing batter can emerge red-faced if the pitch is a strike. Marcus Jimenez, a junior for Maritime Academy, knows that feeling well. Jimenez typically plays rightfield but usually yields to a designated hitter because he's been a flincher at the plate. "I just always think it's gonna hit me so I just don't want to take that hit," said a smiling Jimenez, yesterday's unlikely hero.
March 3, 2014 |
THE SOCIAL Security Administration yesterday expanded a Philadelphia-area pilot program nationally to help bar criminals from controlling benefits on behalf of the disabled and elderly. The program was launched locally in June 2012 in the wake of the Tacony dungeon case. That case made headlines after police rescued four mentally disabled people from a filthy basement where Linda Ann Weston and four co-defendants allegedly held them captive in a scheme to steal their Social Security benefits.
January 22, 2014 |
IN OCTOBER 2011, Philadelphia police rescued four mentally disabled people from a filthy Tacony basement, where Linda Ann Weston and four codefendants allegedly held them captive in a scheme to steal their Social Security benefits. In the wake of the Tacony dungeon case, outraged congressional leaders called for swift changes to how the Social Security Administration screens and monitors people who receive benefits on behalf of the elderly and disabled. But more than two years later, advocates for senior citizens and those with disabilities say that Social Security has taken minimal steps to root out fraud and abuse within the "Representative Payee Program.
January 8, 2014 |
STACEY Newkirk-Smalls, the Tacony mother charged with the May 2012 murders of her 18-month-old twins, Adam and Eve, was convicted yesterday and sentenced to life in prison without parole. The verdict and sentence were handed down by Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart following a one-day nonjury trial. Newkirk-Smalls, 42, was convicted of third-degree murder in both deaths. Minehart sentenced her to 20 to 40 years in prison for one murder and to life for the other because having two murder convictions automatically triggers a life sentence under state law. Police and prosecutors said that on May 24, 2012, Newkirk-Smalls poisoned both twins before drowning one and suffocating the other at the Ditman Street home she shared with her husband, who worked as a city correctional officer at the time.
December 3, 2013 |
JOE GROGAN rushed out of his apartment above the Scarlett O'Hara Pub on Torresdale Avenue near Levick Street on Saturday night when he heard the sirens of converging squad cars and police officers shouting at two suspects they had up against the outside wall of the bar. "They were yelling, 'I told you not to take your hands off the f---ing wall!' and 'Don't go putting your f---ing hands in your pockets!' " Grogan, 57, said in the smoky Tacony bar yesterday afternoon, watching the Eagles on TV, gutting out the final minutes of a 24-21 nail-biter over the Cardinals.
October 28, 2013 |
Beatrice Weston's mother claims her daughter was held captive and tortured by her aunt Linda Ann Weston because the City of Philadelphia failed to keep her safe. In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court, the latest installment in the horrific abuse case out of Tacony, Vickie Weston says the Department of Human Services knew her sister was a convicted murderer, but nevertheless gave her custody of 10-year-old Beatrice Weston. Then, social workers failed to check on the girl for a decade as her aunt forced her into prostitution, beat and starved her, kept her out of school, and even made her drink and bathe in her own urine, the suit alleges.
October 25, 2013 |
THE CITY IS to blame for years of torture endured by Beatrice Weston at the hands of her aunt, Linda Ann Weston, according to a civil lawsuit stemming from the nightmarish Tacony dungeon case. The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on behalf of Beatrice's mother, Vickie Weston, claims that the Department of Human Services took custody of Beatrice, then 10, let the court place her with a convicted murderer and then failed to check up on her. The lawsuit, however, does not mention that Vickie Weston knew about her sister's criminal history and agreed to the placement during a Family Court proceeding in 2002.
October 17, 2013
A column in Sunday's Real Estate section misidentified a parochial school that has closed in Tacony. It was Our Lady of Consolation school. A story Friday about the reopening of two public-school libraries incorrectly reported what the librarian at Masterman School did while she was transferred during the closure. She performed library-related work. A caption for a photo Monday with an obituary for former City Councilwoman Augusta Clark contained an incorrect date.