September 28, 2012 |
AIMING A LASER BEAM at a television news helicopter in the sky seems like something a Philly knucklehead might do as a prank. In reality, it's a federal crime. The U.S. Attorney's Office on Thursday charged Daniel Dangler of Tacony with aiming a laser beam at a CBS3 chopper over Philadelphia on July 18. A CBS3 spokeswoman said the pilot was not injured. Dangler, 29, was convicted in state court for drug offenses in 2004. Anthony Stefanski, Dangler's attorney, could not be reached for comment.
August 22, 2012 |
BEATRICE WESTON was just 10 years old when the system handed her over to a monster. Although a judge placed her in her aunt's care with orders that city social-service workers monitor her progress, the system quickly forgot her. So no one intervened when Linda Ann Weston allegedly chained the girl in closets and basements, beating and burning her niece so often that even a decade later scars mar most of the 20-year-old's body. No one noticed when Beatrice was reportedly starved and forcibly prostituted.
August 21, 2012 |
Beatrice Weston, 20, the niece of convicted killer Linda Ann Weston, is suing the City of Philadelphia for placing her in Weston's care in 2002 and subjecting her to what authorities have described as a nightmarish decade of unrelenting torture at Weston's hands. Beatrice Weston was one of five people rescued by police in October after police discovered four mentally disabled adults held in a dungeon-like basement of a Tacony apartment building. She was locked in a cramped closet in an upstairs apartment, and authorities soon learned that she had been imprisoned by her aunt since she was 10. Authorities have said Weston moved Beatrice and the others around the country, terrorizing them, in a scheme to steal their Social Security benefits.
June 10, 2012 |
A judge dismissed one of the felony charges Friday against Linda Ann Weston and two others accused in the case of four mentally disabled adults found locked in a Tacony basement last fall. Along with kidnapping, aggravated assault, and other charges, Weston, her boyfriend Gregory Thomas, and Eddie Wright, a street preacher from Texas, had been charged with several counts of neglect of a dependent-care person. But after an hours-long motions hearing, Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel J. Anders said prosecutors had not proved that the three were ever the designated caretakers of the alleged victims.
June 5, 2012 |
To avoid another tragedy like last fall's Tacony dungeon case, in which four mentally disabled people were discovered locked in a basement, the Social Security Administration is changing how it selects and monitors people who receive benefits on behalf of disabled individuals. Prodded by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), the administration will launch a pilot project Monday in Philadelphia that changes how it screens people applying to be "representative payees" for those with disabilities.
May 30, 2012 |
A Tacony woman was held without bail Tuesday in the deaths of her 18-month-old twins and what authorities say was the attempted poisoning of a third child. Stacey Smalls, 41, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the twins, named Adam and Eve, last week. She is also accused of trying to kill her 4-year-old daughter, whom authorities allege was given some sort of substance to drink in an attempt to poison her. Smalls was arraigned over the weekend on charges of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, and other crimes, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement Tuesday.
May 26, 2012 |
Police charged a 41-year-old Tacony woman Friday with murdering her 18-month-old twin children, an act police sources said was apparently brought on by learning that her husband was having an affair with one of her close relatives. Stacey Smalls, a former corrections officer who most recently worked at a nursing home in the Northeast, suffocated her children and also drowned her daughter Thursday, police said. She also is expected to face charges for attempting to kill her 4-year-old daughter by giving her a poisoned drink, said Philadelphia Capt.
May 22, 2012 |
For aself-trained mechanic who was born in the Dominican Republic, became a naturalized citizen here in December 2005 and later worked for US Airways as a fleet-service agent, it was a stunning fall from grace. By March 2006, federal prosecutors said Richard Moquete was buying and selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cocaine in Philadelphia that he acquired from a Mexican-based drug-trafficking organization. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lowe said Moquete, who was sentenced to 27 years in a federal lockup Monday, was the organization's only cocaine distributor in Philadelphia.
April 26, 2012 |
A Rhawnhurst man was charged in a fatal accident that killed two people Thursday morning in Northeast Philadelphia, police said. George Vidra, 26, of the 7800 block of Lorna Drive, was driving a red Chevrolet Camaro that ran a stop sign and crashed into a silver Kia at Ditman and Disston Streets in Tacony, police said. The Kia exploded in flames, and its two occupants, a 26-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their names were not released Thursday night.
April 6, 2012 |
The trial for Linda Ann Weston and her alleged accomplices, accused of imprisoning four mentally disabled adults in a Tacony basement last fall, has been set for January 2013. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Jan. 28. The trial, which could last up to 10 weeks, would be scheduled to run for four days out of each week, attorneys said. Weston, 52, described by authorities as the ringleader of the group, is charged with kidnapping and assault, among other offenses. Also charged are Gregory Thomas, 48, Weston's boyfriend; Jean McIntosh, Weston's 32-year-old daughter, and Eddie Wright, 51. Prosecutors have alleged that they kidnapped the adults to steal their Social Security checks, then moved them around the country to escape detection by authorities.