Death Warrant Signed for Rapper Who Killed Philadelphia Police Officer

Office Lauretha Vaird's funeral, January 11, 1996. AP file photo/Nanine Hartzenbusch

Officer Lauretha Vaird’s funeral, January 11, 1996. AP file photo/Nanine Hartzenbusch

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an execution warrant for the man convicted of Philadelphia police officer Lauretha Vaird’s murder.

Christopher Roney, who was convicted of killing Vaird during a January 1996 bank robbery in Feltonville on Rising Sun Avenue, is scheduled to be executed on January 8th of next year. Vaird, who was wearing a bulletproof vest without its protective panels, was killed by a single shot to the abdomen; she was the first female officer killed in the line of duty.

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Charges Dropped in Philly Attempted Murder Case

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office has dropped charges against Tomayo McDuffy, a Holmesburg man once accused of attempted murder in a home invasion case in Northeast Philadelphia. He was accused by a blind neighbor who said she recognized his voice.

The original incident happened in May of 2013. Yolanda Colon, a blind woman, said two men broke into her house; her service dog was able to scare off the intruders and fetch her phone to call 911. (Good boy!) The victim said she recognized a voice belonging to McDuffy, her next-door neighbor.

Colon said the intruders left her gas on. McDuffy was arrested and charged with attempted murder. But questions abounded: Supporters claimed Colon left the gas on herself and pegged McDuffy as the culprit because of a longstanding grudge; McDuffy’s backers said Colon had a history of wrongfully accusing people.

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Pa. Supreme Court Will Hear Monsignor Lynn Case

In this March 27, 2012 file photo, Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

In this March 27, 2012 file photo, Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow in the case of Monsignor William Lynn. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office is appealing a lower court ruling that overturned Lynn’s conviction on child endangerment charges.

Lynn, a former aide to Philadelphia’s Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, was convicted in 2012 of endangering children, but the verdict was thrown out on appeal last year (see below).

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LISTEN: Delvin Barnes Appears in Philadelphia Courtroom

delven-barnes-mugshot-400x400Delvin Barnes, the man charged with kidnapping Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, appeared in federal court in Philadelphia today (hear the full, 5-minute appearance below). He got a public defender and will be back in court Friday for a bail hearing.

Spoiler alert: He won’t get bail.

Barnes is charged with abducting Freeland-Gaither from a Germantown street earlier this month. Freeland-Gaither was found alive a week ago in Maryland.

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Lawyer Told to Pay $1M for Allowing Smoking Reference at Trial

A Philadelphia judge has ordered a suburban defense attorney to pay nearly $1 million for allowing an expert witness to make a smoking reference during a lung cancer-related medical malpractice trial.

The defense attorney, Nancy Raynor, says she’s going to fight it. She is calling for an investigation into the judge that issued the order, Paul Panepinto. “I’m not only going to appeal the decision, I am going after everyone in this,” Raynor told The Legal Intelligencer. “If they think for one nanosecond that I’m laying down and putting up with their bullshit, they’re crazy.”

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Ex-Penn Professor Who Killed Wife Must Pay $124 Million

Rafael Robb — the deluded former Penn professor who killed his wife Ellen in 2006 — must pay the estate of his former wife $124 million, a jury ruled yesterday.

The civil trial began earlier this week.

Jurors returned a unanimous verdict after five hours. An attorney for the estate of Ellen Gregory Robb told the Inquirer it is the largest contested jury verdict in the history of Pennsylvania. “He has millions … and we will take that away from him,” Robert Mongeluzzi told the paper.

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Kaboni Savage Soldier Gets 40 Years in Firebombing

lo Lamont Lewis, a soldier of former drug kingpin Kaboni Savage, was sentenced to 40 years for his role in the firebombing of a house of a federal witness’ family. The firebombing of the house on North 6th Street killed six, including four children.

Savage ordered the firebombing from prison, and has been convicted of 12 murders he either committed or ordered. He was sentenced to death.

Lewis pleaded guilty in 2011 and testified against Savage and other co-conspirators. In 2004, Lewis and Robert Merritt drove to the house of family members of Eugene Coleman, who was cooperating with federal authorities. Lewis fired a warning shot into the air, then Merritt threw two full gas cans, one with a lit fuse, into the house.

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Eric Frein Arraigned, Held Without Bail

Eric Frein mugshot

UPDATE: A police source told Action News that Eric Frein confessed to the killing of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson in September. Frein also confessed to wounding Trooper Alex Douglass in the same shooting, per the station.

Frein does not yet have an attorney. He’s due back in court for a preliminary hearing on November 12th.

EARLIER: Eric Frein, the man captured yesterday after a 48-day manhunt, was arraigned Friday morning and held without bail. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.

He is accused of killing Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass last month in a seemingly random attack. When Frein was taken out after arraignment Friday, members of the crowd chanted “rot in hell” at him.

At a press conference after Frein’s arraignment, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens updated reporters on the capture. “This was not a result of a tip or a sighting,” Bivens said. “This was a result of the continued pressure put on Frein by law enforcement.” U.S. Marshals surprised Frein as part of a routine sweep on Thursday.

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State Sen. Washington Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge

As expected, on Thursday State Senator LeAnna Washington pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conflict of interest. She was charged with using her office to plan birthday parties for herself that doubled as political fundraisers.

Washington, who is also being sued by her former chief of staff, said she was “sorry” in court.

Washington avoided jail time by pleading guilty; she was sentenced to three months of home confinement, 57 months probation and must pay $200,000 in restitution. The state dropped a theft of services charge.

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Pa. State Senator to Plead Guilty to Felony Charge

Pennsylvania State Senator LeAnna Washington will plead guilty next week to charges she used taxpayer money to fund political fundraisers.

Washington is facing two felony counts of theft of services. It’s not clear if she’s pleading guilty to one or both counts, and neither the prosecution nor the defense would say if she would serve any jail time. She faced 12 years.

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