Tuesday, May 5, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2015, 9:31 AM

This post has been updated.

A city prison inmate has been charged with murder after correctional officers found his cellmate bloody and unconscious in their locked cell Tuesday morning.

Sylvester Smith, 46, is accused of attacking Darryl Warthen, 52, sometime before 7 a.m. Tuesday in their shared cell at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center. Correctional officers found Warthen collapsed and bloodied in the cell, and medics declared him dead at the prison at 7:25 a.m. Sources initially told the Daily News that Warthen had been stabbed. But police spokeswoman Officer Christine O'Brien said today that Warthen died of blunt force trauma to his head, and investigators determined Smith allegedly used his hands to injure Warthen.

Dana DiFilippo @ 9:31 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 8:44 PM
The (Philadelphia Police)

A Temple University student suffered traumatic injuries during a hit and run crash near the school's campus Wednesday night, police said.

The crash happened just after 7 p.m. as the victim, a 22-year-old woman, was riding her mountain bike on Park Avenue near Diamond Street in North Philly, Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

A silver Mitsubishi Galant struck her as she was crossing the intersection of the two streets, Small said. Witnesses told police that the vehicle came to a stop after the crash. But, moments later, it sped away, turning west on Diamond Street and then north on Broad Street.

Vinny Vella @ 8:44 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 3:01 PM

A trip to Taco Bell ended in hell for several Temple University students, when they returned home to find a stranger crouched beside their barbecue. "Yo, I'm tripping. Who lives in here?" the man demanded, before pushing his way inside their apartment and robbing the residents at gunpoint.

The robber, who was armed with a black semi-automatic handgun, ordered his victims, two men ages 21 and 23 and a 22-year-old woman, to lay on the floor as he barked: "Where the person with the money?" police said. An accomplice came into the apartment, and the two robbers went into a ground-floor bedroom, where they ordered the resident to open a safe, police said. The robbers stole $5,000 and a quarter pound of marijuana from the safe and then fled through a back door, police said.

The robbers are described as black men in their early to mid 20s. The gunman wore a black hoody and pants, black skull cap and gloves. His accomplice had a dark complexion, short cropped black hair and wore a gray hoody and gloves.

Dana DiFilippo @ 3:01 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 11:38 AM

Geno’s Steaks will donate $10,000 each to the families of firefighter Joyce Craig and Officer Robert Wilson III during a memorial plaque ceremony Friday near the South Philly landmark.

Craig, an 11-year veteran and mother of two who was promoted posthumously to lieutenant, died while fighting a basement fire Dec. 9 in West Oak Lane. Wilson, an eight-year veteran and father of two who was promoted posthumously to sergeant, died March 5 in a shootout with two armed robbers at a North Philly Game Stop. 

“It is a privilege to continue my father Joey Vento’s legacy by honoring and proudly supporting the brave and courageous Philadelphia law enforcement officers,” said Geno Vento, the steak shop's owner, who will present the checks. The ceremony will be 11 a.m. at Geno's at Ninth and Passyunk. 

Dana DiFilippo @ 11:38 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 8:29 PM

The woman on the second floor had been complaining of the odor coming from the apartment above hers for weeks.

But Albert Ponce, the property manager for the building on Wakeling Street near Darrah in Frankford, didn't panic: he thought it was from the refrigerator in the first floor apartment, recently vacated by its tenant.

This afternoon, he received a frantic call, he said. The odor was really strong, and the woman on the second floor couldn't wait any longer.

Vinny Vella @ 8:29 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 6:49 PM

A spat with his mother allegedly lead a West Philly man to lock himself inside the home they share while threatening to shoot police officers with an assault rifle.

Robert Thompson, 38, was taken into custody early Tuesday after a two-hour standoff with SWAT officers and other police personnel at his home on Melon Street near 47th in the Mill Creek section of West Philly. He has been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats against officers and related offenses, according to Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives.

The ordeal started about 6 a.m., when Thompson and his mother got into an argument, Walker said. In the heat of the conflict, Thompson allegedly hit his mother in the leg with a chair, causing her to cry out in pain.

Vinny Vella @ 6:49 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 1:33 PM
Philadelphia police officer Robert Wilson died after being shot in the head in a North Philadelphia GameStop. ((left) PPD, (right) Joseph Kaczmarek / Inquirer)

A Wissinoming restaurant will hold a fundraiser tomorrow for the family of slain Philadelphia Officer Robert Wilson III.

The fundraiser will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Johnnie's Fine Italian Cuisine on Comly Street near Harbison Avenue. For $30 per person, you get soup or salad, choice of entree and dessert. All proceeds and tips will go to the officer's family.

Wilson, 30, an eight-year veteran and father of two, was patrolling North Philly on March 5 when he stopped by a Game Stop for a security check and a quick gift for his son's upcoming birthday. Two brothers intent on armed robbery burst in, not noticing Wilson nor his partner, who was waiting for Wilson in a parked, marked cruiser outside. Wilson announced himself and exchanged shots with the brothers. He was hit three times in the shootout and died shortly after at Einstein Medical Center. Wilson's partner got in a second shootout with brothers Ramone Williams and Carlton Hipps as they fled the video game store, injuring one. Williams and Hipps were arrested and charged with Wilson's murder.

Dana DiFilippo @ 1:33 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 12:08 PM

Police are investigating the death of an inmate at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center this morning as a homicide because he appeared to have been stabbed, sources said.

Correctional officers found the inmate, 52, just after 7 a.m. this morning in his cell, and medics declared him dead on the scene at 7:25 a.m., said Shawn Hawes, a prisons spokeswoman. A police source identified the victim as Daryl Warthen, who court records indicate was awaiting a mental-health status hearing in two cases: a 2002 burglary and a 2004 criminal-trespassing incident.

Warthen was found bloody and unresponsive in a locked cell, sources said. His cell mate, whom sources identified as Sylvester Smith, 47, was being questioned. Court records show Smith was transferred to PICC Monday as he awaits a trial in an aggravated-assault case from December.

Dana DiFilippo & Vinny Vella @ 12:08 PM  Permalink |
About this blog

Philly Confidential, which covers crime in Philadelphia and the suburbs, is written by Daily News staffers Dana DiFilippo, Stephanie Farr, Vinny Vella and Morgan Zalot.

E-mail tips to DiFilippo at difilid@phillynews.com and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Farr at farrs@phillynews.com and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Vella at vellav@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Zalot at zalotm@phillynews.com and follow her on Twitter here.

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