Police: Woman Shoots and Kills Ex-Husband Less Than an Hour After Cops Left the Home

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On Sunday afternoon, 67-year-old Chien-Kuo Lin of North Wales called the local police, requesting an officer’s presence while he removed his belongings from the home of his ex-wife, Hsiu-Chin Lin. A North Wales cop showed up, remaining at the home for about 30 minutes. Soon after the cop left, police were called to the house once again, but this time for a much more serious matter. Read more »

Penn Grad Accused of Being “The Vegan Bernie Madoff”

Sarma Melngailis in a Tuesday, October 18, 2011, file photo.

Sarma Melngailis in front of Pure Food and Wine with her restaurant’s most popular dish — a local heirloom tomato lasagna featuring basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta and zucchini —  in an October 18, 2011, file photo.

Sarma Melngailis was born in Massachusetts, and her grades were good enough to get her into the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1994 — with a dual Wharton/College degree. Like many Penn graduates, she moved to New York and went into finance. In the booming 1990s, she worked at Bear Sterns, then moved to Boston to work at Bain Capital.

She shifted careers in the late ’90s, however, graduating from the French Culinary Institute and eventually becoming an advocate for the vegan lifestyle. She opened Pure Food & Wine in 2004, New York City’s first restaurant to serve “gourmet renditions of organic, vegan [and] raw food.” Though the restaurant had its critics — “I’ve certainly taken some criticism from raw-food purists,” she told the Village Voice — it was popular, and Melngailis seemed to be doing well.

Then things changed. The staff walked out en masse in January of last year over unpaid wages, with Melngailis offering various explanations for the paycheck delay. The restaurant — along with a companion business, One Lucky Duck — re-opened, but workers walked out again last summer due to unpaid wages.

Then, Melngailis disappeared. Or, she disappeared until she and husband Anthony Strangis were caught by authorities in Tennessee — after they’d ordered a Domino’s Pizza. The horror! Read more »

Twin Brothers Charged in Bombing Spree

Caleb and Daniel Tate in photos released by the Chester County district attorney.

Caleb and Daniel Tate in photos released by the Chester County district attorney.

When you think of misbehaving college kids who live in the sticks, you probably conjure up images of cow-tipping and the like. But according to the district attorney of Chester County, these two college kids built improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and then blew things up with them. Read more »

Parole Denied for Rafael Robb, Penn Professor Who Killed Wife

Rafael Robb, 56, is escorted from court to a waiting car in King of Prussia Pa., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007.

Rafael Robb, 56, is escorted from court to a waiting car in King of Prussia Pa., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007.

The parole board refused Penn professor Rafael Robb‘s attempt for early release, it was announced today.

Robb pleaded guilty in 2007 to strangling his wife, Ellen Robb, in a fit of rage, then staging the scene to make it look like an attempted burglary gone awry. At the time, then-Montgomery County prosecutor Bruce Castor said Ellen had signed a lease on an apartment and had spoken to a divorce attorney.

“The District Attorney’s Office is dedicated to achieving justice and protecting the safety of our community,” Montgomery County DA Kevin Steel said in a release. “Justice was served by declining this inmate’s request for an early release and keeping Rafael Robb behind bars until 2017.” Read more »

Feds Charge State Sen. Larry Farnese with Vote-Buying

State Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, during a news conference Thursday, April 4, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

State Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, during a news conference Thursday, April 4, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

State Sen. Larry Farnese was accused in a federal indictment Tuesday of allegedly orchestrating a vote-buying scheme to help himself win election as the Democratic leader of the Eighth Ward in Center City.

Federal prosecutors say Farnese spent $6,000 in campaign funds to pay for a study-abroad program for committee person Ellen Chapman’s daughter. They claim that Chapman, in return, backed Farnese in his 2011 bid to become ward leader. Chapman had previously planned to support another candidate, according to the indictment.

The feds also contend that Farnese “disguised the true purpose of the payment by falsely listing it as a ‘donation’ on the campaign’s finance report.” Farnese and Chapman alike have been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and Travel Act Violations. Read more »

Streets Commissioner Donald Carlton Arrested for Assault After House Party Fight

Left: Mugshot of Streets Commissioner Donald Carlton. Right: Carlton at a press conference. (Screenshot via City of Philadelphia video.)

Left: Mugshot of Streets Commissioner Donald Carlton. Right: Carlton at a press conference. (Screenshot via City of Philadelphia video.)

Less than six months after Mayor Jim Kenney appointed him Streets Commissioner of Philadelphia, Donald Carlton is facing charges of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. The charges stem from an incident that took place in December, just days after his appointment had been announced. Read more »

Did LaFaye Gaskins Really Murder Albert Dodson?

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

LaFaye Gaskins, inmate number BF8329, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder at the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy, a two-hour drive northwest of Philadelphia, in the heart of old anthracite coal country. Gaskins is a lanky 47-year-old black man with a large bald head that glows beneath the fluorescent lights in Mahanoy’s visiting room. The first time I meet him there, in June 2014, Gaskins chuckles softly and often as he tells me his sad, surreal story. But he’s spent nearly three decades in prison, and his humor has an edge. When I mention the room’s teal-and-white color scheme, Gaskins deadpans, “In prison, brighter colors are supposed to calm you down.”

after the jump »

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