Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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 |
POSTED: Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 4:05 PM

No one saw who stabbed Leocadio Del-Orbe 57 times as he sat in his black Toyota SUV sometime before 7 a.m. on a cold, snowy Jan. 3.

Except, that is, the person who killed the 60-year-old native of the Dominican Republic.

But prosecutors say the DNA in two drops of blood found outside the SUV are enough to link the crime to one man: Daniel Tejada, 54, who lived one house away from Del-Orbe in the 2400 block of North Howard Street in North Philadelphia and was related to Del-Orbe through marriage.

Joe Slobodzian @ 4:05 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, June 30, 2014, 3:19 PM
Lawyer Daine A. Grey Jr. would like to know how, after his arrest on June 8, 2013, Sean Benschop’s name became Kary R. Roberts and Sean Benschop became Kary R. Roberts’ alias. (AP)

The frustration in lawyer Daine A. Grey Jr.’s voice was palpable.

He told Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner he tried calling, tried pleading, tried getting orders from judges but nothing was getting client Sean Benschop his name back.

Benschop, 43, was operating the excavator on June 5, 2013 when an unsupported four-story wall toppled on to the adjacent Salvation Army thrift store at 2136 Market St., killing six people and injuring 13. He’s in prison without bail, charged with six counts of third-degree murder and faces the probability – if convicted – of spending life in prison without parole.

Joe Slobodzian @ 3:19 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 3:33 PM

A second prostitute has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of Keith “King” Tolbert, 35, the former nursing student turned alleged pimp who is charged with felony murder in last August’s death of a “john” who died in a robbery attempt and whose body was dismembered and dropped in the Schuylkill.

Angel Weston, 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday before Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner to conspiracy and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. Lerner set sentencing for Aug. 27 although that will likely be postponed until after Tolbert’s April 6 trial.

Weston’s guilty plea follows that of fellow prostitute Stephanie Foulke, 22, who pleaded guilty Nov. 25 to the same two charges. Even before she went before a judge, Foulke testified for the prosecution at Tolbert’s Nov. 6 preliminary hearing, describing in detail the macabre Aug. 26 death and dismemberment of Francis Zarzycki.

POSTED: Monday, June 23, 2014, 1:00 PM

The oft-delayed retrial of Rev. James J. Brennan for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy has been delayed once again – this time by Traffic Court.

No, Father Brennan did not run afoul of the law while driving. His lawyer, William J. Brennan Jr., however, remains tied up in federal court defending former Traffic Court Judge Willie Singletary in the ticket-fixing trial of six former Traffic Court judges and a Philadelphia businessman.

On Monday, which was supposed to be the start of jury selection in Brennan’s retrial, the priest sat alone in the rear of the courtroom waiting to get a subpoena for a new court date while the staff of Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Edward C. Wright communicated with his lawyer by phone during a break in the federal trial.

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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