Archive: August, 2012
The Philadelphia Flyers fan arrested for knocking out a New York Rangers fan during a trash-talk-turned-melee outside South Philly’s Geno’s Steaks after the Jan. 2 “Winter Classic” has pleaded guilty to aggravated and simple assault and conspiracy.
Dennis Veteri, 32, entered the guilty plea Tuesday before Common Pleas Court Judge Ellen Ceisler. Veteri, a bricklayer from Glassboro in South Jersey, remains free on $250,000 bail pending sentencing on Oct. 26.
According to court documents, the guilty plea was not negotiated with the District Attorney’s office, which means there is no agreement on Veteri’s sentence. The aggravated assault charge is graded as a first-degree felony, which under state law carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.
These days Dwayne Brown sits in the state prison at Huntingdon in central Pennsylvania west of Harrisburg, six years into two consecutive life sentences for his role in a Dec. 11, 2000 drug-related double murder in North Philadelphia.
But Brown, 39, will be heading back to Philadelphia in the near future – for a new trial. Last Tuesday, the state Supreme Court in a hotly divided decision vacated Brown’s conviction and sentences and ordered a new trial in what is arguably one of the most convoluted cases in recent court history.
Convoluted? Consider. The state’s highest court ruled that the trial judge did not err when she allowed the uncorroborated testimony of three purported witnesses to the killings of Anthony “Manny” Williams and Keita Lacey. All three incriminated Brown as one of two shooters when they first talked to police but recanted their statements when they testified at his 2006 trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.
Genaya Lee on Monday waived her right to a preliminary hearing in Philadelphia Municipal Court on charges that she participated with three others to lure a 20-year-old Pittsburgh woman to North Philadelphia through an Internet chat line in February. The woman was allegedly held her against her will, sexually assaulted, beaten and set afire before being put on a bus back to Western Pennsylvania.
The case against Lee, 20, of North Philadelphia, now moves toward trial on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy, reckless endangerment and false imprisonment although prosecution and defense lawyers have said they hope to resolve the case through a guilty plea.
Lee, who was arrested July 14, remains in custody in lieu of $750,000 bail.
More than a few people called or wrote, angry about last Thursday’s sentencing of Walter Williams to 2 to 4 years in prison for throwing an errant punch that hit and killed Tovoyia Owens, a 21-year-old pregnant mom, during an altercation last year outside Philadelphia Traffic Court.
How was it possible for a man to get just 2 to 4 years in prison for killing a pregnant woman?
The explanation probably won’t satisfy anyone. Nor will the fact that Williams, 28, was sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart to just 1-1/2 years shy of the maximum possible sentence.
For a drug dealer, an abandoned house can be the perfect cover: it’s inside work, people (read, cops) can’t see what you’re doing and the building looks like, well, like nobody lives there.
But as with everything else in life, the devil is in the details.
Just ask Khayree Harrison, 21, currently a guest of the U.S. government at the federal prison in Cumberland, Md. Last week, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia affirmed his drug conviction, ruling that that the North Philly rowhouse Harrison rented looked too abandoned.
When defense lawyers go before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina on Monday to ask for bail pending appeal for Msgr. William J. Lynn, the guest of honor will not be present.
The 61-year-old cleric, sentenced July 24 to 3 to 6 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of child endangerment in the landmark clergy sex abuse trial involving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is already more than 100 miles away in the state prison at Camp Hill near Harrisburg.
At sentencing, Lynn told his lawyer he did not want to be returned to Philadelphia for his bail hearing, which would have required a rigorous prison bus ride as well as a likely stay at the state prison at Graterford in Montgomery County before his court date.