Archive: July, 2012
A fourth adult has been charged in the case of a Pittsburgh woman authorities say was lured to North Philadelphia through an Internet chat line in February, held against her will, sexually assaulted and beaten and then set afire before being put on a bus back to Western Pennsylvania.
Genaya Lee, 20, of North Philadelphia, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy, reckless endangerment and false imprisonment in the alleged incident involving the unnamed 20-year-old Pittsburgh woman.
Lee, arrested July 14 and being held in lieu of $750,000 bail, was scheduled for as preliminary hearing Monday before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Karen Yvette Simmons. Simmons granted a joint request for a delay to Aug. 27 by Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGlynn and defense lawyer Richard J. Fuschino Jr., who said he was just appointed as Lee’s lawyer.
The preliminary hearing for the Bucks County man charged with the July 8 early-morning crash on I-95 that killed Philadelphia Police motorcycle Officer Brian Lorenzo has been rescheduled for Sept. 26 in Philadelphia Municipal Court.
John Leck Jr., 47, of Levittown, remains in prison without bail facing charges that include murder and homicide by motor vehicle while driving under the influence.
Police say Leck was driving south in the northbound lanes of I-95 at 3:15 a.m. when his Audi A6 collided with the police motorcycle being driven by Lorenzo, 48, near the Cottman Avenue exit. Lorenzo, a 23-year veteran of the force and member of the elite Highway Patrol Unit, was on his way home from work and was pronounced dead on the scene.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is moving quickly to figure out how the courts and prisons should comply with the June 25 U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating mandatory life sentences without chance of parole for people who killed when they were under age 18.
In an order filed last week, the state’s high court ordered prosecution and defense lawyers to file briefs by July 23 suggesting what relief the court should order for 480 Pennsylvania inmates – about 350 from Philadelphia – serving life for murders committed as teens.
The state Supreme Court said it will hold oral argument on the question some time between Sept. 10-14 when the justices next sit in Philadelphia.
Wednesday’s preliminary hearing for Geraldine Cherry -- the 50-year-old Upper Roxborough woman charged with killing her elderly blind roommate by stuffing rope down her throat – was postponed because she suffered seizures in prison and was hospitalized.
Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge David C. Shuter scheduled July 31 for a status check on the case after defense attorney Fred Goodman said he did not know when Cherry might be released from the hospital.
A spokeswoman for the city prisons said Cherry was taken to an undisclosed area hospital about one week ago after she had the seizure and remains hospitalized.
It’s been years now since Philadelphia judges have been warning spectators to turn off their cell phones in the courtroom and not use them to try to surreptitiously photograph or text people about witnesses who are testifying.
Witness intimidation is a fact of life in a city where “don’t snitch” is part of the code of the streets and those who testify often face more than a cold shoulder from friends.
Now, some judges are trying to extend their reach beyond the courtroom, to the Internet and beyond.