Sunday, July 5, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2015, 12:48 PM

A city prison inmate attacked and injured a female correctional officer last night at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, according to the president of the union that represents the city’s 2,000 prison guards.

Inmate Antonie Fletcher, 37, allegedly punched correctional officer D’Juana Henry, 29, a two-year veteran, just after 8 p.m. yesterday and knocked her to the floor, where he continued punching her, said Lorenzo North, president of Local 159. Henry was treated at Jeanes Hospital for facial, hand and knee injuries, North said.

Prisons spokeswoman Shawn Hawes said Henry told Fletcher to return to his cell after he used the telephone, but instead, he allegedly attacked her. He could face additional assault charges; the District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the incident, Hawes said.

Dana DiFilippo @ 12:48 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 9:50 PM

A 22-year-old woman was sexually assaulted early Wednesday morning in the Elmwood section of Southwest Philadelphia, police said.

The woman was waiting for a SEPTA bus on 65th Street near Dicks Avenue around 3 a.m. when a man put something against her head and dragged her into a driveway to sexually assault her, the Special Victims Unit said in a news release Wednesday.

The man fled after taking the woman’s wallet, which contained cash, a debit card and her ID.

Joe Brandt @ 9:50 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 9:49 PM

A man who sexually assaulted his adopted child over seven of her early years received a lengthy prison sentence Wednesday, after a judge likened the abuse to “torture” by a non-remorseful father figure.

Judge Gwendolyn Bright handed down a 25-50-year prison sentence to Miguel Laureano, who in March was convicted of rape and several other related offenses.

Laureano, 51, raped his adopted daughter several times a week from when she was six years old until she was 11, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office said in a news release Wednesday. Laureano and his wife had babysat the girl since she was four years old, when he began sexually assaulting her.

Joe Brandt @ 9:49 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 4:35 PM

Gerrell Hall's family got a chilling call from him this morning.

He told them terrible news: His live-in girlfriend and the mother of his children, Brittney Green, was dead.

And, he said, it was by his hand, according to what the family told investigators.

Vinny Vella @ 4:35 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 8:10 AM
Jaylin Landaverry (left) with her mom Olga Galdamez at her quinceanera. Both died from injuries sustained in a propane gas explosion at the food truck they operated in Feltonville. (Family handout)

Almost a year after his mother and sister were killed in a food-truck explosion in Feltonville, a Lawndale man has filed a lawsuit against two companies connected to the truck.

Uliser Galdamez, of Oxford Avenue near Glenview Street, filed a civil suit in Common Pleas Court against ERI Vending Cart Co. Inc., which installed the truck's kitchen, and U-Haul, which regularly refilled the propane tanks.

The truck was parked on Wyoming Avenue near 3rd Street on July 1 when a burner ignited a buildup of gas that police and Fire Department officials said came from a leaking propane tank and the truck exploded.

Joe Brandt @ 8:10 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 8:39 AM
Investigators examine the site of the fatal Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

Two newlyweds injured in the derailment of Amtrak Train 188 in Frankford last month are suing the rail company and the train's engineer, Brandon Bostian, arguing that the couple was hurt due to negligence by each.

The May 12 crash that killed eight passengers and left more than 200 injured caused pelvic, spinal and hip fractures for Kathryn Varnum, 33. Her husband, Declan MacFarland, 34, sustained a concussion and other injuries. The Virginia couple had recently leased an apartment in New York City, where the train was headed.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, alleges that Bostian was reckless in his operation of the train, which was going 102 mph around a curve at Frankford Junction when it derailed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Joe Brandt @ 8:39 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 8:36 AM

A Philadelphia man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison yesterday for his role as leader of a drug-smuggling operation that brought about 8 kilograms of heroin and a kilogram of cocaine into the United States between 2010 and 2012.

Higinio Castillo, 25, pleaded guilty in April to leading an operation that had drug mules enter the country after swallowing packets of heroin. Before they made it to the street for sale, the smugglers would “pass” the drugs in an apartment the operation owned, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal prosecutors say Castillo and others kidnapped a drug mule they accused of not returning about a pound of heroin. He also attempted to kidnap the children of another drug-runner.

Joe Brandt @ 8:36 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Monday, June 15, 2015, 8:26 PM

Investigators tonight are trying to piece together the final moments of a 43-year-old man found dead inside his home in East Mount Airy.

Officers were called to the man's house, on Ardleigh Street near Mt. Pleasant Avenue, about 6 p.m., according to Chief Inspector Scott Small. Initial information said the man had been shot and that a weapon was still inside the home.

When police arrived, they found the man sitting on his couch in his living room. He had been shot once in his head, Small said.

Vinny Vella @ 8:26 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 and Vinny Vella.

E-mail tips to DiFilippo at and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Farr at and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Vella at and follow him on Twitter here.

The Philly Confidential team
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