Hearing for Tacony basement defendant will be Feb. 2

The reinstated preliminary hearing for Eddie Wright -- the Texas street preacher arrested in October and charged with participating in the imprisonment of four mentally challenged adults in a Tacony basement – has been put off to Feb. 2 to give the Philadelphia judge time to read the voluminous transcript of an earlier proceeding.

Wright, 51, was arrested with Linda Ann Weston, 51, her boyfriend Gregory Thomas, 48, and her daughter, Jean McIntosh, 32, accused of imprisoning the four to collect their government benefit checks.


At a Dec. 20 preliminary hearing, Weston, Thomas and McIntosh were held for trial on kidnapping, conspiracy, assault, theft and related charges. But Municipal Court Judge Patrick Dugan dismissed the charges against Wright, citing testimony that Wright seemed also to have been manipulated and led by Weston. Witnesses testified that Wright slept in the fetid basement with the four imprisoned adults and Weston also collected his benefit checks.

The District Attorney’s office refiled the charges against Wright in Common Pleas Court, resulting in Friday’s scheduled preliminary hearing before Judge Paula Patrick.

Defense attorney Louis D’Onofrio moved to conduct an entirely new hearing for Wright on the reinstated charges while the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Erin O’Brien, argued that the judge should rely on the transcript of the Dec. 20 preliminary hearing.

Patrick agreed with the prosecutor but, according to O’Brien, realized that the hearing transcript is about 500 pages long.

Instead, the judge will spend the next two weeks reviewing the transcript and supplement the record, if necessary, with fresh testimony on Feb. 2.