Philadelphia Criminal Law News

November 2012 Archives

Update: Raghu Yandamuri Appears in Court

Raghu Yandamuri needed a very good attorney to help him face charges of the murder of baby Saanvi Venna and her grandmother.

It looks like he lucked out with his court-appointed public defender. This Wednesday, Yandamuri had his preliminary hearing where he appeared in front of a judge with his attorney, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.

We wrote about what it takes to get a court appointed defender in a recent post. Yandamuri is charged with the murder of a baby girl and her grandmother -- a killing which he claims stemmed from financial motives. Essentially, he was having financial trouble and saw ransom as a way out.

Will Pot Become Legal in Pennsylvania? Unlikely

Is pot becoming legal in Pennsylvania?

The Philadelphia Daily News has launched its brand new pro-pot column, Philly420, discussing the legalization of marijuana and hoping that the state will eventually make recreational marijuana legal.

It's unlikely, however, that it will become legal anytime soon, writes The Patriot-News. Despite the fact that Colorado and Washington both approved citizen-voted measures legalizing recreational marijuana, there's still the issue of the federal supremacy on drug laws.

Raghu Yandamuri Gets Court Appointed Attorney, Court Date Set

A hearing date has been set for Raghunandan "Raghu" Yandamuri for his role in the killings of baby Saanvi Venna and her grandmother, Satyavathi Venna, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.

Yandamuri was charged with the murder of the baby as she stayed in her grandmother's care on October 22. The killing occurred in the course of a botched kidnapping scheme, where Yandamuri was trying to kidnap the baby and ask ransom money from her parents.

Ex-Court Employee To Pay Back $433K in Stolen Funds

This crime story comes out of Philadelphia courts. But it’s actually the courts that are involved in a crime.

Rather, it’s the court that was the victim in this tale of theft.

William Rullo, a veteran Philadelphia court procurement worker, was found to be stealing funds from the courts, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

During his 10-year tenure at the courthouse, he allegedly stole $433,000 in court funds.

Old Time Gangster: Pete Caprio Testifies in Ligambi Trial

Mobsters don't change.

Well, maybe they do, but certainly not Pete "The Crumb" Caprio. This week, he testified in court that he had no conscience. The 83-year-old mobster showed up in court this week as a witness against mobster Joseph Ligambi, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.

Apparently, his cohorts barely knew he was still around, from the statements they made in the courtroom as he entered. According to The Daily News, the judge had to ask the mobsters to silence themselves, as they expressed shock at his appearance, asking "that guy is still alive?"

Michael Donahue Trial Continues This Week

Aggravated assault can come in many forms. That’s what former Delaware County Assistant District Attorney is learning this week, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer, as his DUI trial unfolds.

While simple DUI is the work of a skilled DUI lawyer, Donahue is facing a straightforward criminal trial where his attorneys have the difficult job of showing the jury that he cannot be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for the injuries suffered by Joseph Vantrieste.

Lottery Fraud: 2 Syracuse Brothers Arrested for $5M Scam

This might be out of nearby New York state, but the story was so amazing that it makes for the perfect story for the mid-week blues.

Two brothers in New York were arrested for lottery fraud, reports Good Morning America.

Well, there’s no real crime called “lottery fraud” but you get the idea. They lied to claim $5 million in lottery winnings. In actuality, lottery fraud could mean a whole host of things. For this story, it refers to cheating someone out of their lottery winnings.

Elderly Man 'Pistol Whipped' in Upper Merion

Elder abuse is a terrible crime, especially when criminals target elderly strangers.

This week, police are scoping out leads in Upper Merion Township in the hopes of apprehending two suspects who attacked an elderly man on Monday.

The two suspects allegedly broke into the home of an 83-year-old man and stole items from his home. Joseph Petrellis escaped with his life but had to get seventeen stitches and suffered a swollen eye, reports ABC News. They also pistol-whipped him.

Literally.

Collingdale Mother Charged in Toddler's Heroin Overdose

A mother in Collingdale is being charged with the death of her toddler son, reports The Associated Press.

The mother, Christine Rivero, was arrested for the mysterious death of her 11-month-old, Niccolo Varner, after toxicology reports indicated that the baby died from ingesting heroin.

The death occurred on July 15. At that time, Rivero told officers that her 5-year-old was to blame for the death. She claimed that she put both kids in a bath together and that the 5-year-old may have hit the toddler on the head.

N.J. Judge Rejects Stephen Headley's Guilty Plea

What kind of sentence will Stephen Headley get in his murder conviction? That's a question that New Jersey Superior Court Judge James W. Palmer will be tackling.

Headley was convicted in the Sept. 13, 2010, stabbing death of Nicole Ayres. This conviction came after his guilty plea over the summer.

Headley was facing 30 years without parole. But recently, The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Headley may face stiffer sentencing.

Mistrial in Marcos Camacho Rape Case

Marcos Camacho is off the hook. For now.

A mistrial was declared in his rape case on Tuesday, reports CBS Philadelphia. Camacho was on trial for raping three women and attempting to rape a fourth woman last year.

The jurors in his case simply couldn't come to a consensus. As a result, Judge Barbara McDermott declared a mistrial. But that doesn't mean that Camacho's legal battle is over.

Ex-Penn State President Graham Spanier Charged in Sandusky Scandal

Penn State's former president, Graham B. Spanier, has been charged with eight criminal counts in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The charges include obstruction of justice, perjury, and endangering a child.

As you probably know, earlier this year Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach and founder of a charity for troubled children, was convicted of more than 40 counts of child sex abuse.

The sex abuse allegedly took place over several years. Several incidents were brought to the attention of university officials, as some of the acts took place on school grounds.

Spanier was the president of Pennsylvania State University during this time.