Carjack Suspect “Atoning” for Fatalities

Carjacking Crash

UPDATE: Two men have been charged with rape and murder in Friday’s carjacking. For the full story, go here.

[Update 11:35 am] An attorney for one of the men in custody says his client is trying to “atone” for his role in the carjacking:

The persons of interest, one 19-years-old and the other in his 20s, were taken into police custody on Sunday. The younger man, identified by his attorney as Jonathan Rosa, turned himself into detectives alongside his mother and their pastor, sources said. U.S. Marshals and city police later took the older man into custody that evening. Read more »

Smerconish’s Death Penalty Lament

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Poor Michael Smerconish. Pennsylvania still isn’t killing people as fast as he’d like.

So the radio host/CNN talking head took to the most prominent op-ed space in Philly — the Sunday paper, right next to the editorials — and sounded off on an old hobby horse: Pennsylvania justice isn’t working correctly because the state too rarely carries out an execution.

“Today, no matter how heinous the murder, no killer could have a well-founded fear of actually being executed in Pennsylvania,” he lamented. And he’s right. Pennsylvania hasn’t carried out an execution that was opposed by the defendant since 1962.

One thing that Smerconish fails to properly consider, though, is how that empty death chamber might actually be serving the interests of justice.

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The Fall of the Main Line Drug Ring

Montco D.A. Risa Ferman with an AR-15 rifle and drugs seized by the police.  / Associated Press

Montco D.A. Risa Ferman with an AR-15 rifle and drugs seized by the police. / Associated Press

On the afternoon of April 21st, 18-year-old Timothy Brooks arrived at a courthouse in Ardmore, a mile east of his alma mater, the Haverford School. His appearance — khaki pants, blue blazer, square jaw — suggested good breeding. Walking alone, in handcuffs, he lifted his head and smiled at the assorted cameras before him. “Why are you smiling?” a reporter asked. Brooks said nothing and marched forward into the courthouse.

Twenty-five-year-old Neil Scott, Brooks’s alleged co-conspirator and fellow Haverford graduate, showed up looking less composed. Escorted by police, he covered his face with his blood-orange prison jumpsuit — his bail was set higher than Brooks’s, and his parents had declined to pay it — and told the assembled media to “get the fuck out of my face.” Then he popped out two middle fingers and concluded his remarks with a drawn-out “Fuuu-uck you.”

The perp walk was a fittingly theatrical start to the day’s proceedings. Scott and Brooks, along with nine suspected sub-dealers, were being charged with running a drug ring that aimed to supply marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy to some of the finest high schools, colleges and weekend house parties in Greater Philadelphia. (The prosecutors’ allegations were outlined in painstaking detail in a 77-page affidavit.) Brooks called the operation the Main Line Takeover Project, and soon, so would everyone else. “Every Nug on the mainline is about to come from you and me,” he’d texted Scott last fall. “We will crush it,” Scott echoed in a separate text-message conversation. “Once you go tax free it’s hard to go back.”

Announcing the charges at a press conference, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said, “You’re dealing with kids from one of the finest institutions probably in the country. To take those skills and turn it into this kind of illegal enterprise is very distressing.” In front of her was a table covered in drug-bust evidence: $11,035 in cash, eight pounds of marijuana, 23 grams of cocaine, 11 grams of Ecstasy, eight cell phones, one computer, one .223 AR-15 rifle, one .22 AR-15 rifle, one 9mm handgun — and, to emphasize her point, a lacrosse stick.

To read the rest of this story, buy the August 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine, on newsstands now, or subscribe today.

$110,000 Reward Offered for Carjackers Who Killed Three Kids

Carjacking Crash

Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek/AP

As of Saturday afternoon, there are still no arrests in the fatal North Philadelphia carjacking that killed three children and left their mother in critical condition. The city is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the two suspects, and the Fraternal Order of Police is offering $10,000. The FOP reward is set to expire on Monday. Read more »

#FreeMeekMill? Philly Judge Says No Dice

Fans of Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill shouldn’t plan on seeing the self-proclaimed king of the city perform anytime in the immediate future. The 27-year-old will be spending the next three to six months in prison, thanks to a probation violation earlier this month.

According to Radio.com, the artist’s lawyers attempted to schedule an “emergency hearing” rather than waiting for September to push for a shorter sentence. A judge denied that request.

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It Happened: A Good Guy With a Gun Stopped a Bad Guy With a Gun

A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

Everytime a gun massacre occurs, gun enthusiasts have suggested that what the world needs is … more guns. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” they say. The problem? Good guys with guns so rarely seem to make the scene — and bad guys with guns end up doing quite a bit of damage.

Until Thursday at least. A “gun-toting doctor” at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby shot and injured his assailant, effectively ending the attack — and there’s a good chance as a result this story is going to get some front-and-center attention in the national gun debate. 

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