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Testimony

NEWS
February 14, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia homicide detective testified Thursday about a pivotal moment when, she says, accused child-killer Margarita Garabito admitted hitting her 10-year-old stepdaughter in the head with a metal broom handle. It was late afternoon on Oct. 21, 2009, Detective Norma Serrano told the Common Pleas Court jury hearing Garabito's murder trial, and she was talking with Garabito in a homicide interview room at police headquarters. Serrano was there, she told the jury, because she spoke fluent Spanish and Garabito did not speak English.
NEWS
February 7, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
The next-door neighbor of accused child-killer Margarita Garabito told a Philadelphia jury Thursday that she felt betrayed by a woman she considered a "close friend. " Wanda Torres spent an emotional two hours testifying about the year leading up to the Oct. 21, 2009, death of 10-year-old Charlenni Ferreira, Garabito's stepdaughter. Her testimony could help and hurt both the prosecution and the defense in Garabito's murder trial. Questioned by Assistant District Attorney Andrew Notaristefano, Torres recalled watching Garabito walking with Charlenni shortly before her death.
NEWS
February 7, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia judge who imposed sanctions of nearly $1 million on defense lawyer Nancy Raynor has defended his action in an opinion in which he accused Raynor of violating a court order as part of a trial strategy. Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Panepinto said Raynor intended to elicit testimony from a witness that was precluded at the start of the trial. In the opinion, his first official explanation of the underlying facts and legal rationale for the penalty, Panepinto also accused Raynor of repeatedly changing her story as she challenged efforts by opposing lawyers to have her sanctioned.
NEWS
February 6, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
In scientific testimony that undercut the defense of accused child-killer Margarita Garabito, a former Philadelphia medical examiner testified Wednesday that 10-year-old Charlenni Ferreira's five ribs were broken over one to four weeks - at a time when the girl's father was out of the country. Defense attorney J. Michael Farrell has told the jury that Garabito, 48, will testify that Charlenni was beaten and sexually abused by her father, Domingo Ferreira. But the testimony of Marlon Osbourne - now an associate medical examiner in Broward County, Fla. - if accurate, would make it impossible for the father to have inflicted the fatal injuries, because he was in the Dominican Republic visiting relatives from Sept.
NEWS
February 5, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
AS A PROSECUTOR showed a Common Pleas jury a photo of 10-year-old Charlenni Ferreira, her face battered and bruised, one juror held a wooden clipboard to his mouth, his face reddened. Another clasped her mouth with a hand. The girl in the photo was dead. Prosecutors contend that her stepmother, Margarita Garabito, 48, who is on trial for murder and related offenses, beat her to death. On the day of Charlenni's death, Oct. 21, 2009, her body was examined at the city Medical Examiner's Office.
NEWS
February 1, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The question of whether charter school magnate Dorothy June Brown is competent to be retried on charges that she defrauded her schools of $6.3 million now lies with a federal judge. A three-day hearing, during which psychiatrists and psychologists expounded on Brown's mental state, concluded Friday with testimony from defense expert Barbara Malamut, who told the court that Brown had cognitive impairment that would prevent her from assisting her defense in her retrial. Malamut's testimony clashed with that of earlier government witnesses who offered rosier assessments of Brown, concluding she exhibited no sign of mental illness.
NEWS
February 1, 2015 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
At a daylong briefing on immigration detention Friday, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington heard testimony on a range of issues, including "institutional sexual assault" and the criminal charges filed recently against a guard at the Berks County Residential Center. The Leesport facility, under a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, houses immigrants and their children while they await deportation proceedings. The guard, Daniel W. Sharkey, 40, of West Reading, was charged Jan. 16 over his alleged involvement with a 19-year-old Honduran woman who was housed at the facility with her 3-year-old son. He was not identified before the commission.
NEWS
January 15, 2015 | By Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writer
Four preteen boys gave graphic testimony Tuesday about their football coach repeatedly sexually assaulting them in his North Philadelphia home. The youths echoed testimony earlier in the week against Leon Watson, 25, who coached the Little Vicks and Rhawnhurst Raiders. One of the boys, an 11-year-old wide receiver for the Vicks, told the Common Pleas Court jury about when he was assaulted last year in Watson's home in the 2400 block of West Diamond Street. The boy said he had been suspended from school for fighting and had gone to Watson's home because his mother could not take care of him during the day. While he watched television with Watson, the coach began fondling him, the youth said.
NEWS
January 11, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the end, prosecutors were content to hear Clarence Davis admit his guilt. The plea deal for a 1970 murder case was reached Thursday before a judge even heard the appeal, and Davis' life sentence concluded late Friday night when he was released from Graterford Prison after 43 years of incarceration. "It was a legitimate admission of guilt," said Robin Godfrey, an assistant district attorney. "It avoids putting the victims through another trial, where there is a possibility of a 'not guilty' verdict because of the age of the case.
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.
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