Philadelphia Criminal Law News

November 2010 Archives

Rashida Anderson Found Dead In South Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported 37-year-old Rashida Anderson was missing over the weekend until police officials found her body in the backyard of her South Philly rowhouse on Monday. Authorities suspect the victim's son may have killed her and concealed her body for a few days, but they have not verified that he was a chief suspect.

Sergeant Jim Cooney of Philadelphia described the alleged murder of Rashida Anderson as "domestic" in nature. Anderson's son reported his mother was missing on Saturday, and police ended up finding her body behind their two-story brick house on Jackson Street. Michelle Wilson, one of their neighbors, said Anderson and her son were "ideal neighbors... this is the last [house] I would expect there to be trouble."

Luann Bowers Charged With Child Endangerment

Authorities are investigating a case in south-central Philadelphia to determine how the parents of five children were able to conceal them for so many years. The Philadelphia Daily News reported Luann Bowers and Sinhue Johnson lived hidden from society, and their children had no birth certificates, no schooling, and no general proof of their existence.

Neighbors said they never saw the family, which is highly unusual in the urban setting Luann Bowers, Sinhue Johnson, and the children lived in. After a child-welfare agency obtained an anonymous tip about the family, detective Dana Ward Jr. was able to track down the children, three girls and two boys who range between the ages of 2 and 13.

Two Philadelphia Women Raped And Robbed By Stranger

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, two women were assaulted, robbed, and raped by a stranger after a night out at Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square area. Both women were dropped by cabs along North Broad Street. Special Victims Unit Captain John Darby believes the same perpetrator may have carried out both of these crimes.

In one incident, a 26-year-old woman was dropped off by a taxi at Brandywine Street and was walking home when a stranger attacked her from behind. The man struck her in the head and demanded that she give him her money. The 26-year-old punched the man and attempted to run away, but he chased after her and caught up to her. The assailant then raped the woman, stole $100 from her bag, and fled the scene.

James Cialella Faces Prison Sentence For Shooting Moviegoer

James Cialella, an Iraq War Army veteran, attracted a great deal media attention after he shot a noisy moviegoer during the film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." The incident occurred on Christmas in 2008, and Cialella pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges involving possession of an instrument of crime and aggravated assault.

31-year-old James Cialella, a South Philadelphia resident, is scheduled for sentencing on March 2. The army veteran faces the possibility of serving nine to 16 months behind bars. Cialella's Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Gregory Pagano said he will ask Common Please Judge Genece E. Brinkley for the option to put his client under house arrest or probation in consideration of Cialella's service as an Army sergeant. He also has no previous criminal record.

Reverend William Ayres Suspected of Sexual Abuse

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia made an announcement on Monday revealing that Reverend William G. Ayres was stripped from his title as pastor after allegations arose that he sexually abused a minor during the 1990s. According to Philadelphia Inquirer, the archdiocese asked Ayres to resign from his position at North Philadelphia's St. Michael parish and as parochial administrator of the Immaculate Conception parish.

Once the archdiocese had learned of the allegations last Thursday, it immediately directed the case to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office for further investigation. "We leave it to the District Attorney's Office to determine if the charges are credible," said archdiocese spokesperson Donna Farrell.

Kensington Stranglings May Be Linked To Same Attacker

Police officials said evidence obtained from the two women who were strangled in Kensington link both deaths to the same murderer. Captain James Clark of the homicide division affirmed that the "DNA from both crime scenes is connected," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Police found the bodies of Elaine Goldberg, 21, and Nicole Piacentini, 35, less than a mile away from each other. Both women were barely clothed and showed signs that they had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death. Two more women have also told authorities that they were also assaulted, in two separate incidents, by a man who attempted to choke them to death in October. One of the women said she was attacked in the same lot Piacentini's body was located.

Philadelphia Not Among Most Dangerous Cities

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the CQ Press ranks U.S. cities with more than 75,000 residents on how dangerous they are. The survey is based on six crime categories: rape, robbery, murder, burglary, aggravated assault, and motor-vehicle theft. Pennsylvania's Camden, once listed as the country's most dangerous city, finally rid itself of that title but ranked second as St. Louis, Missouri took the title.

Camden Mayor Dana Redd said the CQ Press ranking did not reflect the fact that the overall crime in the city "is at a 40-year low." Budget cuts and likely decreases in state aid have resulted in a number of officer reductions among the Pennsylvania police departments. Camden was struck the hardest, and reports reveal that the department may lose 150 to 225 of its 375 members. With nearly half a department gone, police union officials said it will be much more difficult to reduce crime or even keep it in check.

Governor Rendell Decides On Castle Doctrine Bill This Week

Governor Rendell will be deciding on whether to pass a law that expands people's rights to defend themselves with deadly force, which is also known as the castle doctrine. The Pennsylvania House and Senate have passed the bill, allowing people to use force, or even fatal force, once they feel threatened. Many PA criminal defense attorneys are anticipating Rendell's decision this week.

"Deadly force" refers to the amount of force that will likely cause serious bodily injury or death to another individual. The measure also permits individuals to use deadly force in places other than their home, like in their vehicles or businesses. Supporters of the bill believe it allows people to "stand your ground" while opponents think the bill lets people "shoot first."

Christian Williams Sentenced to Prison for Shooting

The Philadelphia Daily News reported Christian Williams was sent to jail on Friday for being involved in the shooting of 12-year-old West Philadelphia resident Jerome Sims. Common Pleas Court judge Genece. E. Brinkley sentenced Williams to a 10 year prison sentence followed by 15 years on probation for his role in attacking Sims.

The shooting occurred on Spruce Street as a reprisal for when Christian William’s older stepbrother, 19-year-old Antwon Sanders, initiated a shooting five days earlier. Sanders began shooting at Fateem Gresham, 15, after a heated verbal altercation. Gresham was shot in back and suffered serious injuries from the gunfire.

Donte Johnson Expected to Plead Guilty To Murder Charges

In the death of Northern Liberties waitress Sabina O'Donnell, 18-year-old North Philadelphia local Donte Johnson was charged with sexual assault, rape, robbery, and murder. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Johnson is expected to plead guilty to killing O'Donnell in a court hearing on December 10.

20-year-old Sabina O'Donnell was previously employed at the PYT burger lounge at the Schmidts' Piazza. She was out at a bar in Northern Liberties with her friends, and then went to hang out at a friend's house. She borrowed a bicycle and left to go home at around 2:30 the following morning. The bike ride home should have only taken O'Donnell a few minutes, until she passed Donte Johnson on the street.

Rosario Tedsco Pleads Guilty to Auto Scam

The Philadelphia Daily News reported that authorities caught and arrested 31-year-old Rosario Tedsco for swindling money from insurance companies and stranded motorists. As a typical scam story so often begins, Tedsco had started off as an honest and legitimate businessman when he first started J.R. Auto body shop in Northeast Philadelphia.

Yet no one knows at what point during Rosario Tedsco’s business career he began hustling his crooked deals. This past December, the District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and FBI joined together in an investigation on Tedsco’s auto body shop and fraud schemes, which led Philadelphia law enforcement officials to find and arrest him.

Booking and Bail in Philadelphia

A criminal suspect is usually taken into custody by police and “booked” or “processed” after an arrest. A police officer will generally do the following during booking:

  • Take down the suspect’s personal information, such as his or her name and physical characteristics;
  • Do a record search on the suspect’s criminal background;
  • Take the person’s fingerprints and photo;
  • Record information about the alleged crime;
  • Take away any personal belongings that will be returned when the suspect is released; and
  • Hold the individual in a local jail.

Joseph Vignola Jr. May Get a Longer Prison Sentence

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes sentenced Joseph C. Vignola Jr., the son of a former city controller and councilman, to four years behind bars for slitting an escort’s throat two years ago. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Assistant District Attorney Robert Foster filed a motion last week asking Hughes to consider changing Vignola’s sentence to 12 to 24 years in prison.

Joseph Vignola Jr., 21, pleaded guilty to charges involving a 2008 attack on City Avenue’s North American Motor Inn. Police officials were able to locate Vignola Jr. after he used his father’s cell phone to plan a rendezvous with a woman. He admitted to arguing with the woman and punching her in the throat, knocking her unconscious. Before leaving the scene, Vignola Jr. slashed the woman’s throat and took back the cash he initially paid her.

Criminal Arrests in Philadelphia

An arrest generally involves being taken into custody by law enforcement officials and being denied the freedom to leave or move about as you please. It is the first step in the criminal justice process and is completed when a police officer tells you the crime you are suspected of committing.

A Philadelphia police officer can typically arrest you under these circumstances:

  • The officer personally witnessed a crime;
  • The officer has “probable cause” to arrest you; or
  • A warrant has been issued for your arrest.

Richard Collins Charged for Allegedly Concealing Hotel Murder

Last month, Philadelphia firefighters found 49-year-old Patrick Brady from Chester County dead inside a burning hotel room in Old City. According to NBC Philadelphia, law enforcement officials arrested South Jersey local Richard Collins, 20, in connection with the victim’s death. Collins allegedly aided Herman Burton in concealing any evidence that would expose the murder of Patrick Brady.

Police officials claim 22-year-old Herman Burton (whom sources have said dresses as a woman) robbed, strangled, and fatally beat Patrick Brady in his hotel room in October. To cover up the killing, Burton decided to set the room on fire. Richard Collins, a Bridgeton, New Jersey resident, supposedly helped Burton move Patrick Brady’s body.

William Barnes Seeks Parole After Murder Charges

William J. Barnes shot Philadelphia police officer Walter Barclay during a 1996 burglary. The Philadelphia Daily News reported the gun wound left Barclay paralyzed and sent Barnes to serve 16 years behind bars. When Barclay died in 2007, 74-year-old Barnes was arrested and charged with murder after city prosecutors alleged that the shot Barnes fired at Barclay directly caused the former cop’s death.

Barnes had been working at a Roxborough grocery store on parole until he was arrested for the murder charges. This past May, a jury held that Barnes was not liable for the death of Walter Barclay, but Barnes was still kept behind bars for more than three years due to technical parole violations. William Barnes’ Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys are attempting to convince Pennsylvania’s parole board that their client should be released from jail.

Nicole Piacentini Strangled to Death

Police reported Nicole Piacentini was strangled to death after officials found her body, partially clothed, behind an abandoned building on East Cumberland Street in Kensington. The 35-year-old Port Richmond local was found almost a mile away from the empty lot where authorities found the body of Elaine Goldberg, 21, who was also discovered strangled to death and left barely clothed.

Nicole Piacentini’s body was found less than two weeks after police had recovered Elaine Goldberg’s. Philadelphia Lieutenant Ray Evars said there is no indication that the killings were related, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Many Philadelphia law enforcement officials may find the case bizarre and disturbing, and it could be one that few PA criminal defense lawyers may have come across.

Philadelphia Man Robbed of Pants and Shot in Germantown

The Philadelphia Daily News reported a strange and unusual robbery that involved an unknown assailant stealing a Philadelphia man’s pants during a stick up. The 20-year-old victim told Philadelphia police officials that an individual robbed him at gunpoint in North Philadelphia on Tioga Street close to Germantown Avenue at around 3:30 a.m.

The alleged robber took the 20-year-old’s trousers and boots before shooting the victim once in his right thigh. Authorities said the bullet exited through the left side of 20-year-old’s rear. Still, the young victim was able to walk himself to the nearest hospital in spite of his injuries and was admitted into Temple University Hospital in critical but stable condition as a result of the gunshot wound.

Three Women Attacked And Robbed at SugarHouse Casino

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported three women were robbed at gunpoint by two masked men in the SugarHouse Casino parking lot. Though this is the first stickup to occur on the casino’s property, it is the second robbery case linked to SugarHouse since its opening in September. Last month, two men followed and attempted to rob a man who had won $2,000 at the casino.

SugarHouse surveillance cameras captured the stickup of the three women, who are ages 29, 30, and 32. The attackers drove into the parking lot right after the women arrived at the casino. As the women headed towards the SugarHouse gaming hall, they were stopped by two men armed with silver pistols and who had the lower half of their faces masked. One of the men hit the 30-year-old woman with his handgun.

Violent Beating of Philadelphia Man Recorded on Camera

A 33-year-old man was brutally beaten in Old City in Philadelphia by a stranger who then stole the victim’s money, according to NBC Philadelphia. The victim could only recall the first punch, but the incident was caught on camera. Philadelphia police said the beating was violent “enough to turn your stomach.” They had to edit the footage before releasing it to the public.

As the 33-year-old left McFadden’s bar on the 400 block of Willow Street to meet with friends, he was approached by a man who asked him for directions. Without provocation, the stranger began to beat the 33-year-old just as soon as he came up to him. The attacker continued to strike the victim until the 33-year-old was unconscious. The victim suffered a broken nose, a concussion, and various fractures.

Crystal Johns Arrested for $230K Con

Philadelphia law enforcement officials recently arrested 23-year-old Crystal Pinky Johns and her alleged partner in crime, Patrick Stanley, on charges of theft. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, both Johns and Stanley were charged for swindling nearly $230,000 from an 86-year-old Philadelphia man.

Police officials reported Crystal Johns became friends with the 86-year-old man last December after she spotted him walking to church from his home in Philadelphia’s Washington Square area. Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Ray Evers said the two started going out to lunch from that point on, and sometimes they would even go to the theater together.

Obina Onyiah Charged for Philadelphia Store Owner's Death

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, 27-year-old Obina Onyiah was charged with the murder of 67-year-old Northeast Philadelphia jeweler owner Bill Glatz. Investigators reported Onyiah and his accomplice, a 22-year-old convict Kevin Turner, who had escaped from the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in October, attempted to rob William Glatz Jewelers on Passmore Street.

The robbery ended in a gunfire exchange with Bill Glatz after Obina Onyiah and Kevin Turner announced their intent to rob the store. Law enforcement officials said Glatz and Turner were killed in the shooting while Onyiah fled the scene. Witnesses said Onyiah jumped into a black getaway vehicle that had tinted windows and was driven by another person. The driver has not yet been found.

Alexander Rivera Arrested And Charged With Drug Trafficking

The alleged North Philadelphia drug linchpin Alexander "Reds" Rivera, his wife, his mother-in-law, and ten associates were all recently arrested and charged for drug trafficking. An extensive investigation by the FBI's Violent Gang Task Force and Philadelphia Police Department brought about the 27-count arraignment on Rivera for suspected drug operations in a Kensington neighborhood.

Law enforcement officials claim the drug venture was a family affair and that the operation "distributed massive quantities" of drugs in Kensington since February 2006. Alexander Rivera's wife and mother-in-law were charged with storing, packaging, and selling heroin, PCP, and cocaine. It has not yet been determined whether Rivera and his family have hired a PA criminal defense attorney to provide legal counsel throughout this case.

Shoplifting In Philadelphia

It may not be entirely uncommon to hear of someone who has taken candy from a store or a small piece of jewelry from a shopping store, since shoplifting is a frequent crime committed by people of various ages. Despite how common the crime may be, some Philadelphians may not be aware of the severity of a shoplifting charge and the punishment it entails.

Shoplifting is a type of larceny or theft that involves the stealing of merchandise from a place of business or store. It generally includes two elements:

  • the intent to leave the rightful owner, usually a store, without possession of the item and not pay for the purchase price; and
  • willfully taking or hiding the possession of an item offered for sale.

Criminal Law: Solicitation in Philadelphia

Encouraging, requesting, or demanding a person to engage in criminal conduct with the intent to facilitate the commission of the crime falls under it's own crime known as solicitation. Although solicitation is commonly linked with engaging someone in prostitution, it generally involves engagement in any sort of criminal conduct.

To be charged with solicitation in Philadelphia, the following elements must be present:

  • An individual has the intent to engage in criminal conduct with another person; and
  • An individual requests that someone else engaged in criminal conduct.

Rasheed Scrugs Sentenced To Life In Prison

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the eight women and four men in the jury for admitted killer Rasheed Scrugs were deadlocked a second time around in deciding whether Scrugs should be sentenced to death by lethal injection. As a result, Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes was required under Pennsylvania law to sentence Scrugs to life behind bars without any chance for parole.

The family of former officer John Pawlowski, who Rasheed Scrugs shot and killed, was left to question the significance of PA's death penalty law. Pawlowski's widow, Kimmy, said the government should "throw out the death penalty in Pennsylvania, because it's pointless."

Death Row Convict Mumia Abu-Jamal Gets Another Hearing

56-year-old Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of murder 28 years ago and has faced a death sentence for the death of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Abu-Jamal's case will return to court for another appellate hearing. A final decision on the case seems distant as Abu-Jamal's seven year PA criminal defense attorney Robert R. Bryan withdrew from the case. Bryan stated Mumia Abu-Jamal supporters threatened to embarrass him.

Judith L. Ritter, the associate counsel, will contend an appeal to the Third Circuit's U.S. Court of Appeals. Abu-Jamal has been on death row at southwest Pennsylvania's state prison in Waynesburg, and his legal team aims to get him a new death-penalty hearing. They plan to argue that the legal instruction given to the 1982 jury was confusing and supported execution, not a life sentence.

Jury Deadlocked In Rasheed Scrugs' Death Penalty Trial

The Philadelphia jury for Rasheed Scrugs' death penalty trial announced it was deadlocked last week. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes instructed the jury to try once more in coming to a final decision on whether Scrugs should receive the death penalty for the death of Officer John Pawlowski.

Rasheed Scrugs' lawyers and other PA criminal defense attorneys experienced with death penalty cases were surprised by the jury's indecision and Hughes call for continued deliberation. David Rudenstein, Scrugs' lawyer, objected to Hughes' directive for the jury to carry on with its deliberations, arguing potential grounds for an appeal. A deadlocked jury typically means an automatic life sentence, and Rudenstein was concerned that the judge's actions could be construed as a suggestion to restore a death sentence.

Helping A Cop Killer Leads To Prison For Two Philadelphia Men

Philadelphia men Mitchell Cain and Isaac Albright have been sentenced to prison for assisting one of the convicted murderers of Police Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner had given Cain, 50, the mandatory minimum of five to ten years in prison. 35-year-old Albright was sentenced with 11 and a half to 23 months in jail.

Mitchell Cain pleaded guilty to conspiracy, robbery, and weapons charges as a part of an armed carjacking that happened in May 2008. Cain, his nephew Howard, and 35-year-old Eric DeShann Floyd had stolen a North Philadelphia cabbie's Jeep and used it the following day for a bank robbery in Port Richmond.

Herman Burton Arrested For Murder And Arson

Patrick Michael Brady, a Chester County resident, was strangled by a 22-year-old transgendered prostitute in his Old City hotel room at the Omni Hotel. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, police arrested Herman Burton, who identifies and dresses as a woman, for Brady's death and charged her with arson, murder, and other related offenses.

Authorities said Patrick Brady, 49, let Southwest Philadelphia local Herman Burton into his hotel room last weekend. A fight broke out between the two, for reasons police have not yet determined, and led into in a massive physical brawl. Burton beat and choked Brady to death, then set the room on fire in an attempt to hide any evidence of the murder.

Troy Whye On Trial for Girlfriend's Murder

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported 39-year-old Troy Whye is currently on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Krystal Skinner, 23. Skinner was killed in the couple's apartment on March 2008 in front of their son. In the Camden County courtroom, Assistant Prosecutor Sally Smith described how police found the 3-year-old toddler John at his mother's side, sitting next to a butcher knife.

Troy Whye made the unusual choice to legally represent himself with the guidance of his court appointed Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer, Albert M. Afonso. "I want to tell you that Mr. Whye is not guilty of these charges," Whye began when he said his opening statement. To make sure his statements would not be seen as testimony, he had to refer to himself in the third person.

DNA May Connect Dominique Wilson To Rape Cases

Earlier we mentioned the criminal case involving Dominique Thomas Wilson, who is now on trial for violent assaults in Center City close to the University of Pennsylvania. Wilson allegedly forced his way into a couple's apartment, robbed them at knifepoint, tied up the boyfriend, and raped his girlfriend. In a similar case, Wilson threatened two women with a knife and gun and raped one of them repeatedly.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, forensic scientist Brian Pfleegor testified that Dominique Wilson's DNA samples matched the evidence taken from the two Philadelphia women he allegedly raped. "I would not expect to find somebody else with that DNA," said Pfleegor. He said that it would take one out of a trillion people on Earth to find another individual with DNA like Wilson's.

Marsha Moore Brutally Attacked In Her Philadelphia Home

The Philadelphia Daily News reported West Philadelphia community activist Marsha Moore awaits facial reconstruction surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from a bloody attack that she doesn't remember. She woke up Friday morning of last week with sharp pains in her face and was surprised to find her pillows covered in blood.

Marsha Moore had gone to bed after preparing for a yearly awards ceremony she started a couple of years ago to pay tribute to Philadelphia veterans. When she felt "a gaping gash" on her face the following morning, she immediately called her husband Robert. According to Philly law enforcement, an intruder broke into the Moores' home and beat the 52-year-old woman with a pipe while she slept in bed. The intruder also stole a couple of pieces of jewelry before fleeing from the scene.

The Difference Between A Felony And Misdemeanor Crime

Like most states, Pennsylvania classifies crimes into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. The potential punishment associated with a criminal act affects which category the crime will fall under. The law classifies a crime as a felony if it entails more than a year of prison time while a misdemeanor involves punishment for a year or less.

Some crimes may be considered "wobblers," in which the prosecutor can charge the crime either as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the amount of jail time preferred for punishment. An experienced PA criminal defense attorney can offer an in-depth explanation on how punishment is determined for a particular crime.

Domenique Wilson Charged with Rape and Armed-Robbery

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, a 31-year-old man testified in a rape and armed-robbery trial of having been blindfolded and tied up during a two hour home invasion. Domenique Thomas Wilson, the alleged attacker, has been accused of assaulting the 31-year-old victim and his former girlfriend, now 27, in October of 2008 and raping a student from the University of Pennsylvania in December.

The male victim and his girlfriend were heading to the fifth floor of her apartment complex on Clinton Street when a tall man confronted them. The man held a kitchen knife at the victim's neck and commanded that they open the door. While the male victim was hog-tied, the attacker raped his girlfriend repeatedly. The attacker also ended up taking the couple's credit cards, cash, personal ID numbers, cell phones, a DVD player, and a computer.

Feds File Subpoena For Wedding Photos Of Anthony Staino

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported federal investigators have made an unusual move to subpoena a private photographer's work to obtain photos of Anthony Staino at a recent wedding reception. Law enforcement sources revealed 55-year-old Staino is the notoriously reputed number-two man in the South Philadelphia mob.

Anthony Staino and his wife had a lavish wedding celebration at the Curtis Center in Philadelphia this past September. Several other reputed mob associates, including 71-year-old Ligambi, were amid the nearly 300 guests who attended the Staino party. South Philly's renowned mobster Ralph "Junior" Staino is also said to have been at the celebration.

Will A Note from Rasheed Scrugs Justify Life In Prison?

In a death penalty hearing involving Rasheed Scrugs, PA criminal defense lawyers David Rudenstein and Lee Mandell will argue that a handwritten note from Scrugs shows a sense of remorse from their client and calls for a sentence of life in prison, not punishment by lethal injection. Prosecutors will argue that the note merely demonstrates Scrugs' awareness of what he had just gotten himself into.

Rasheed Scrugs pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the death of Philly cop John Pawlowski. Scrugs' note was brought into Common Pleas Court and reads: "I cannot believe I shot a phila cop... My life is over." Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes ruled the note has to speak for itself was projected onto big-screen monitors. Copies of the note were also handed to each juror.

Philadelphia Shoe Store Owner Shoots Would-Be Robber

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, a northern Philly shoe store owner fired a shot and killed a would-be robber after going through a stick up. Philadelphia police officials said the bandit came into the Super Pro shop on North 22nd Street in Swampoodle when he announced he was robbing the store.

The unidentified thief walked in through a Super Pro store (which is also known as Yi's Top Sporting Goods) and pretended to have a weapon with him. Just as soon as the bandit walked in and announced his plans to rob the store, the owner of the Super Pro store shot the robber instead. The unknown thief was quickly taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The store owner was not harmed. Homicide detectives continue to investigate the incident. There is no news on whether the store owner will be criminally charged.

Stacey Strauss Faces Trial For Bryan Nevin's Death

Philly local Stacey Strauss, 40, allegedly left a severely autistic man locked in the back of a van for five hours. 20-year-old Bryan Nevins, the victim, was found dead after suffering from hyperthermia on a day when the Philadelphia heat had reached 97 degrees. Strauss faces a felony charge for neglecting a care-dependent person and misdemeanor charges for recklessly endangering another person and involuntary manslaughter.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stacey Strauss was a residential counselor at Woods Services in Bucks County. Bryan Nevins had supposedly been in her care that day, but Strauss asserts that she left Nevins in the care of another worker after they came back from a failed outing to Sesame Place. His body was found two hours after the end of Stacey Strauss' shift.

Anthony Bui Pleads Guilty to Drug Conspiracy Charges

Philadelphia resident Anthony Bui allegedly owned a series of marijuana-growing facilities spread out from Connecticut to Florida. One operation received pirated electricity through faulty wiring, which ultimately caused a fire that burned the building down. Police officials uncovered Bui's multistate marijuana business after the fire.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported 57-year-old Anthony Bui pleaded guilty to various drug and money-laundering charges last week in court. Prosecutors said Bui directed commercial operations out of homes in Staley, NC; New Britain, CT; Birdsboro, PA; and Jacksonville, FL. He distributed marijuana along the Eastern seaboard and invested the money in commercial fishing to hide the source of the profit.