Linda Weston admitted in court today to charges stemming from the Tacony dungeon case. At a sentencing hearing in November, she will face life in prison for her crimes.
Weston, 55, pleaded guilty to a laundry list of charges: racketeering conspiracy, kidnapping resulting in the death of the victim, forced human labor, involuntary servitude, multiple counts of murder in aid of racketeering, hate crime, violent crime in aid of racketeering, sex trafficking, kidnapping, theft of government funds, wire fraud, mail fraud, use of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, and false statements.
From 2001 to 2011, Weston and her co-conspirators rented houses and apartments in Killeen, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Philadelphia. Weston admitted luring mentally handicapped people into the homes and kept them confined in basements, closets and other areas of the homes. Weston became their representative payee, and was able to collect their federal (and sometimes state) disability benefits.
“Shocking does not begin to describe the criminal allegations in this case,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said in 2013 when announcing charges, “where victims were tied up and confined like zoo animals and treated like property akin to slaves.”
Weston admitted that on one occasion she and her accomplices forcibly took the social security card and identification from a victim, helping themselves to the money. In 2005, federal prosecutors say, Weston and a co-defendant brought a victim to a house in the Castor section of Northeast Philly. They fed him a substandard diet and left him chained up in the house; he died several months later.
“Weston, Jean McIntosh, Eddie Wright and others confined their victims to locked rooms, basements, closets, attics, and apartments,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a release. “While confined, the captives were often isolated, in the dark, and sedated with drugs placed in their food and drink by Weston and other defendants. When the individuals tried to escape, stole food, or otherwise protested their treatment, Weston and others punished them by slapping, punching, kicking, stabbing, burning and hitting them with closed hands, belts, sticks, bats, and hammers or other objects, including the butt of a pistol.”
The scheme was uncovered on October 15th, 2011, when neighbors in Northeast Philadelphia alerted police to the apartment. Cops raided the Tacony apartment and rescued the four trapped inside.
Sentencing is set for November 5th. Two of Weston’s co-defendants, Gregory Thomas Sr. and Nicklaus Woodard, await trail.
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