Saturday, July 12, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, August 1, 2013, 1:49 PM

There seems no doubt that Riley Cooper’s booze-fueled racial epithet hurled at a black security guard at Lincoln Financial Field was some pretty hateful speech.

But did the Eagle wide-receiver’s tirade – captured on video in June at a Kenny Chesney concert -- amount to a hate crime?

“From what I saw of the videotape it was not criminal behavior,” says Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, the city’s top law-enforcement official and an African American who says he’s had his own experience with racism.

JOSEPH SLOBODZIAN @ 1:49 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 3:39 PM

Thomas Coffee, the Willow Grove man charged with killing a South Jersey man he allegedly lured to West Oak Lane through the Craigslist Internet site to buy an all-terrain vehicle, has been charged in three more armed robberies.

And two of them, said Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Liermann, used the same Craigslist gimmick -- an ATV for sale -- as the June 21 killing of Daniel R. Cook Jr.

Liermann said all three newly charged robberies – filed July 9, 10 and 18 – involved crimes that occurred in the two months before the killing of Cook, 27, of Williamstown. Two of the victims are from Philadelphia and the third from the Pennsylvania suburbs.

JOSEPH SLOBODZIAN @ 3:39 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, July 12, 2013, 12:07 PM

A South Jersey man convicted of racketeering with members of the Philadelphia mob was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno also ordered Gary Battaglini, 52, of Sewell, to pay a $1,000 fine.

An alleged mob associate, Battaglini helped run bookmaking and loan-sharking operations, prosecutors said. He was one of four defendants convicted of racketeering or other crimes in February in the latest Philadelphia mob trial. 

John P. Martin @ 12:07 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, July 11, 2013, 5:01 PM

A former Philadelphia Housing Authority worker was arrested Thursday on charges he conspired to use agency money to buy building materials then sold them privately at a steep discount, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Richard Lewis, 54, of Philadelphia became the fourth person to be charged in the scheme, which prosecutors said ran from 2002 to 2011. Lewis was indicted while Richard Perri, who was a PHA materials coordinator, was charged through an information last year, a step usually reserved for defendants who intend to plead guilty. 
On dozens of occasions, the indictment says, Perri and Lewis arranged for materials to be bought from Home Depot and Sawbell Lumber with PHA funds. They allegedly sold the material at a steep discount to two others, Jacquel Crews and Mark Miller, and split the proceeds.
Perri and Lewis netted $348,000 in the scheme, according to the indictment. 
The FBI probe goes back at least three years; agents picked up Lewis Thursday. After a brief hearing before a federal magistrate judge, he was released on his own recognizance, prosecutors said.
Neither he nor his attorney, Arnold Silverstein, could be reached for comment, and a PHA spokeswoman also could not be reached.
[ITALIC]- John P. Martin 

A former Philadelphia Housing Authority worker was arrested Thursday on charges he conspired to use agency money to buy building materials then sold them privately at a steep discount, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Richard Lewis, 54, of Philadelphia became the fourth person to be charged in the scheme, which prosecutors said ran from 2002 to 2011. Lewis was indicted while Richard Perri, who was a PHA materials coordinator, was charged through an information last year, a step usually reserved for defendants who intend to plead guilty. 

John P. Martin @ 5:01 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 1:16 PM

A federal judge on Wednesday postponed until February the trial of reputed sports betting boss Joseph “Joe Vito” Mastronardo Jr. and 15 others, because he said investigators waited until “the 11th hour” to turn over some evidence from the long-running probe.

The trial had been slated to begin Sept. 23 in Philadelphia, and U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois was preparing to hear arguments this month on defense motions likely to shape the proceeding. But in a courtroom meeting today with lawyers, DuBois said he learned last week that the prosecutors only recently received 14 cartons of documents from Montgomery County detectives and were scrambling to get the relevant evidence to defense lawyers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Bologna apologized for the snafu, which he said stemmed from miscommunication between county detectives and his office. Bologna said the government had already turned over 100,000 pages of evidence to the defendants, and less than 10 percent of the latest batch of documents was new or relevant.  But he did not oppose the rescheduling.

John P. Martin @ 1:16 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, July 1, 2013, 4:00 PM

Philadelphia’s homicide count at the midyear point of 2013 has been revised to include the death of a 6-month-old girl and remains on a record-setting pace.

The city ended the first six months of 2013 Sunday with 116 homicides, the lowest half-year number since 1968. If the city continues at this pace through December, it would end the year with the lowest annual total in 45 years, The Inquirer wrote in a Sunday story.

The 116th death was added when the medical examiner ruled Amarianna Gutierrez’s death a homicide.

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman @ 4:00 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, June 27, 2013, 2:21 PM

Freddie Henriquez, the 20-year-old Philadelphia man charged with using the Facebook social media site to intimidate a witness working with authorities investigating an illegal gun-buying scheme, pleaded guilty Thursday to witness intimidation.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Robert P. Coleman set sentencing for Aug. 8 and Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wellbrock said he would ask for a sentence of two to four years in prison.

Defense attorney Louis T. Savino was not immediately available for comment.

JOSEPH SLOBODZIAN @ 2:21 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, June 24, 2013, 4:51 PM
This java jerk , David Timbers, of Mantua, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for throwing hot coffee in a clerk's face in May. (Philadelphia Police)

The idea behind pleading guilty to a crime – presumably one you actually committed – is to get a measure of credit at sentencing: you’ve shown the judge you’ve accepted responsibility for your actions.

Trouble is, if you become a fugitive before you are sentenced you've shown the judge you haven't grasped concept.

As David Timbers, 53, is finding out.

JOSEPH SLOBODZIAN @ 4:51 PM  Permalink | 0
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 jslobodzian@phillynews.com. Reach Joseph A. at jslobodzian@phillynews.com.

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