Philadelphia Criminal Law News

July 2011 Archives

Joseph Zysk is posting bail and will be released from jail as he awaits his murder trial for the killing of three-year old Jason Larkin. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Zysk posted $200,000 bail and was released to house arrest.

Zysk, 28, is accused of killing his girlfriend’s son after the boy would not stop crying, reports the Inquirer. The death occurred when Zysk’s girlfriend and her son stayed overnight in the house Zysk shared with his mother. Zysk and his girlfriend were reportedly using drugs at the time of the death.

In a jewel heist made for law professors, a family of three attempted to steal $50,000 worth of rings from a Philadelphia jeweler, providing a useful lesson on the difference between theft and robbery under Pennsylvania criminal law.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, John Benson, Sheakia Stubbs, and their four-year old son entered Yaniv Cohen's South Street jewelry store Platinum and Ice to ostensibly buy a ring. As Cohen was showing the family some rings, they attempted to run out of the store with the rings.

In another deadly accident, a Philadelphia teen was killed after the teen and another person stole a van and took it on a joyride in the early morning hours. In an apparent one-car accident, the driver of the stolen van lost control of the van, struck a pole, and flipped the van, ejecting and killing the 15-year old, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to the Inquirer, the second person involved in the van theft fled the scene and is still being sought by police. The dead teen has not been identified.

Michael Vick News: Backing Dogfighting Laws

In the latest Michael Vick news, the Eagles quarterback appeared at a news conference in Washington speaking in support of federal dogfighting laws.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Vick spoke in support of a proposed federal legislation that would make it a felony to bring a child to a dogfight and a misdemeanor for anyone to attend a dogfight.

Eighty-two year old Nicky Scarfo is keeping busy behind bars, allegedly playing a role in a multi-million dollar financial fraud case in Texas.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Scarfo reportedly helped his son, Nicodemo Scarfo, and a Elkins Park businessman, Salvatore Pelullo, defraud a Texas financial firm, FirstPlus Financial Group, of millions of dollars.

A jury is now determining the fate of three additional defendants in the 2006 death of 14-year old Danieal Kelly. The defendants have been charged with violating child endangerment laws and committing other crimes.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Danieal was found dead in her mother's apartment due to apparent starvation and neglect. Danieal suffered from cerebral palsy and was bed-ridden, and her mother allegedly neglected the needs of the disabled girl and ultimately left her alone to die in a filthy bedroom. The mother had pled guilty to third-degree murder of her daughter in 2009, and faces up to 40 years in prison.

Philadelphia to Host SlutWalk to Stop Sexual Assault

Philadelphia is set to host SlutWalk on August 6th, the latest major city to host the rally intended to help stop sexual assault.

Having just begun this year, SlutWalk has quickly caught on with rallies in Toronto, Boston, Chicago, London, and many other major cities across the world. The rally typically involves men and women wearing whatever they want in a protest that they should not be subject to sexual assault just because of their style sense.

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, perhaps better known as Jersey Shore Ronnie, was placed in New Jersey's pretrial intervention program and will avoid jail time and a criminal conviction for his part in the one-shot fight -- at least for the time being.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Ronnie's placement in the intervention program means that he can have the charges brought against him dismissed if he stays out of trouble for a period of time. Ronnie had been charged with assault after getting into a fight with Stephen Izzo outside of a Seaside Heights nightclub during the first season of the Jersey Shore.

What prompted the fight?

Camden Crime: Arson Charges in Latest Warehouse Fire

Warehouse fires, the latest development in Camden crime, have led to arson charges against a squatter for the most recent fire.

There have been a string of warehouse fires this past month in the crime-ridden city across the river from Philadelphia. While the other fires remain under investigation, Camden police believe they have caught the person responsible for the most recent fire at a warehouse of a former paint manufacturing plant, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to the Inquirer, 35-year old squatter Tammie Shipp allegedly set fire to a mattress that belonged to her boyfriend, another squatter staying in the abandoned warehouse, which led to the burning of the entire warehouse. She has been charged with arson.

Eight alleged members of a Bloods gang were arrested in the Philadelphia suburbs for a variety of crimes.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Augustus Anthony Simmons and seven other members of the Bloods-affiliated gang, Gangsta Killer Blood, face charges ranging from attempted murder to arson in a crime spree meant to establish the nascent gang's power in Montgomery County.

Simmons allegedly moved to Norristown to start the local chapter of the Bloods gang and recruited the co-defendants to terrorize the neighborhood in a series of firebombings, assaults, and robberies, reports the Inquirer.

Philly Minor Charged as an Adult in Joyriding Murder

A Philadelphia minor, 14-year old Winston Charleston, is being charged as an adult in the joyriding murder of Daniel Fouracre.

Earlier this week, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Charleston stole the keys to his mother’s car and took several of his friends out on a high-speed, late-night joyride through Philadelphia. The boy was driving without his headlights on, blew through a red light, lost control of the car, and struck two cars head-on.

Fouracre, 22, was the passenger in one of the cars that Charleston struck and was killed. Several other people including Charleston and his passengers were injured, reports the Inquirer.