Friday, March 27, 2015

POSTED: Monday, September 15, 2014, 4:25 PM

Lost in Friday’s commotion about the guilty verdict in the kidnap-sex assault trial of West Philadelphia teacher aide Christina Regusters were sentencings in two other cases I’ve written about:

The sentence was 55 to 110 years but at age 57, career criminal Kevin Green should consider it life.

Green was found guilty by a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury on July 10 for the Aug. 10, 2013, home invasion robbery of Jose "Tony" Torres and wife Elizabeth Varela, at their home in the 3500 block of North Fifth Street, on the edge of Kensington.

Joe Slobodzian @ 4:25 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, September 12, 2014, 2:39 PM

Louis Hartdegen may yet be judged for the May 6, 2013 murder of his wife of 52 years but it won’t be in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

On Tuesday, the same day Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi set Oct. 27 for Hartdegen’s nonjury trial, the 76-year-old Northeast man neighbors once dubbed “the mayor of Castor Avenue” died.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore confirmed Hartdegen’s death and said his lawyers said he had a heart attack. Hartdegen’s attorneys, Thurgood M. Matthews and Catherine Berryman, could not be reached for comment.

Joe Slobodzian @ 2:39 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, September 8, 2014, 11:59 AM

We may be beyond the type of vigilante justice where the mob storms the local jail and exacts punishment on a criminal defendant, but the spirit lives on in other ways.

Consider the case of Valerie Williams, the West Philadelphia woman who took in her two young nieces after they were molested by their father and years later welcomed back one of the girls after she dropped out of college.

That girl was Christina Regusters, who is now 21 and on trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl taken Jan. 14, 2013 from Bryant Elementary School in West Philadelphia. The jury is probably a week away from deliberating the fate of Regusters, who has been held on $4-million bail since she was arrested on Feb. 14, 2014.

Joe Slobodzian @ 11:59 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 5:48 PM

The legend of Marty the Bird continues to grow.

Those following the Philadelphia kidnap and sex assault trial of Christina Regusters will recall that one of the clues that led police to Regusters, 21, was a memory of the 5-year-old girl who was taken from her kindergarten classroom the morning of Jan. 15, 2013.

The little girl recalled being taken from her Bryant Elementary School, at 6001 Cedar Ave. by a woman disguised in full Muslim garb. The girl said she was taken to a house, sexually assaulted and then dropped, half-naked at an Upper Darby playground where a passerby rescued her.

Joe Slobodzian @ 5:48 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, August 4, 2014, 3:29 PM

William Carrasquillo’s life seemed pretty grim when he surrendered to police July 3 and was charged with abuse of corpse for storing the body of his 84-year-old mother, Andrea, in a basement chest freezer for almost a half year.

It hasn’t got better.

The lawyer for the 58-year-old Feltonville pizza delivery man went before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon asking for Carrasquillo to be released without bail while awaiting trial on the second-degree misdemeanor.

Joe Slobodzian @ 3:29 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, July 28, 2014, 2:59 PM

It’s been two years since three gunmen burst into an Overbrook Park house and shot to death brothers Christopher Malcolm, 17, and Rohan Bennett, 13, in a dispute with the teens’ parents about a drug deal.

Now, with the return to Pennsylvania of one of the three alleged gunmen, the case may be moving toward a trial.

On July 23, John Gonce, 30, waived his preliminary hearing before a Philadelphia Municipal Court judge meaning that his case will proceed directly to trial. Gonce’s attorney, Richard J. Giuliani, said he expects Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman to move to consolidate Gonce’s case with that of the two other alleged killers: Terrence Seldon, 28, and Michael Holmes, 30.

Joe Slobodzian @ 2:59 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 4:43 PM

Philadelphia-born hip hop artist Meek Mill’s “Homecoming Tour” ended prematurely Friday when he was sentenced to three to six months in prison for violating his probation from a 2009 gun and drug case.

Though it was almost lost in the commotion as sheriffs deputies prepared to take him into custody, Mill – now known as Robert Williams, inmate 892643, of the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility -- might have achieved a small victory.

After all, how many convicted felons can get a new probation officer?

Joe Slobodzian @ 4:43 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, July 14, 2014, 3:45 PM
Officer Richard Decoatsworth outside the CJC after Antonio Coulter the man accused of shooting him in September 2007 plead guilty to the shooting the officer. Photo taken at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday, May 20, 2008. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS (DN)

In the 15 months since he was arrested and charged with raping two prostitutes and holding them at gunpoint, former Philadelphia Police Officer Richard DeCoatsworth has maintained his innocence, pleaded guilty, withdrawn his guilty plea and once again says he wants to clear his name at trial.

So it’s no surprise that he’s in the process of rehiring defense lawyer L. George Parry, the lawyer he replaced with A. Charles Peruto Jr., who negotiated what even prosecutors called a “sweetheart” of a guilty plea agreement that the 28-year-old ex-hero cop soured on and rejected.

News of the switch-back – confirmed by Parry and Peruto – surfaced Friday during a pretrial hearing before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Ehrlich. The deal with Parry isn’t final yet and Ehrlich set a reality-check hearing for July 21 to be sure.

Joe Slobodzian @ 3:45 PM  Permalink |
About this blog
Inquirer reporter Joe Slobodzian covers the courts and writes about the people who find themselves there and what they face.

You can reach Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or Reach Joseph A. at

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