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.”

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DA: Man Stole $900K From Farm to Buy Luxury Cars, Bahamas Trip

Maserati suspect

Clifton Willson is charged with stealing more than $900,000 from a Chester County farm. He spent the money on things like two Maseratis. (Maserati badge logo by Tanner-Gas, via Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license)

Clifton Willson worked part-time as a painter at a farm in western Chester County. He was fired from that job earlier this year, when police began investigating his involvement in an alleged criminal scheme.

Today, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced Wilson had been charged in the theft of more than $927,100 from a farm in Willistown Township. He used the money, Hogan says, to buy two Maserati vehicles, a Porsche SUV, a Land Rover, a rental home and a family vacation to the Bahamas — among other things.

“The defendant took advantage of his position of trust,” Hogan said in a release. “He stole checks, forged the victim’s signature, and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars all because of simple greed.” Read more »

3 Men Wanted for Assaulting School Police Officers

Suspects in police assault

Still images of suspects from Philadelphia Police Department

Three men attacked teens leaving Northeast High School — then turned their attack on school police officers who intervened, according to Philadelphia Police.

The assaults happened on Monday at 3:30 as school was dismissing. Police say two school police officers were escorting students out of the school — a normal activity — when they saw two adults attacking a Northeast student. The cops ran over and stopped the fight.

That’s when an argument happened between the two adults and the school police officers. Police say the two men began pushing and shoving the officers, eventually throwing one of the school cops to the ground and punching the other in the face. A third man then joined the fray; according to police, “all three began to pummel the officers.” Read more »

Police: Snapchat Turned Into Sex With Student in Upper Dublin

Rose Limuli in a photo provided by the Upper Dublin Police Department in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Rose Limuli in a photo provided by the Upper Dublin Police Department in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

A 39-year-old English teacher at Upper Dublin High School in Montgomery County faces accusations that she had sex and other inappropriate contact with a male student at the school.

Lansdale’s Rose Limuli has been charged with 12 counts of institutional sexual assault. The student, an 18-year-old senior, gave a statement to detectives on April 18th, two weeks after the Upper Dublin School District first reported the allegations to police.  Read more »

Philly Woman Charged With Defrauding Victim Assistance Fund

Melanie Bullock

Melanie Bullock

In November of 2013, Melanie Bullock was assaulted and stabbed in Philadelphia. She survived the incident, and reached out to the state’s Victim Compensation Assistance Program for help a few months later. Her story took a bizarre turn from there.

The fund provides financial assistance to crime victims, so Bullock fit the bill. The problem, according to the state Attorney General’s Office, was that Bullock allegedly provided the program with phony pay stubs and tax records in an attempt to collect $38,500 in supposedly lost wages.

Investigators from the A.G.’s Office dug into the lost earnings claim Bullock filed in May of 2014, which indicated that she was a finance manager at a company called Blue Ivory Stones LLC, supposedly earning $5,500 a month. Bullock even had her boss, Tara Johnson, sign off on some forms, confirming the whole story.

Read more »

John Estey, Rendell’s Former Chief-of-Staff, Charged With Wire Fraud

Pennsylvania's first lady, Midge Rendell, left; Gov. Ed Rendell's chief of staff John Estey, center; and budget secretary Mike Masch applaud as Gov. Ed Rendell enters to deliver his yearly state budget address to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate at the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On Feb 6., 2007, Gov. Ed Rendell’s then-chief-of-staff John Estey (center) applauded as Rendell entered to deliver his yearly state budget address. | Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP

(Editor’s Note: This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.)

John Estey, a Philadelphia lawyer and onetime chief-of-staff to former Gov. Ed Rendell, was charged with illegal wire fraud in federal court Friday. He has agreed to plead guilty. Read more »

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