Pa. DA: Charges coming in death of NYC student
STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania prosecutor says charges will be filed in the death of a New York City college student during a fraternity ritual.
Monroe County District Attorney David Christine says he won't decide on which charges to file until police finish their investigation into the death of 19-year-old Chun "Michael" Deng.
Deng was a freshman at Baruch (bah-REWK') College. He died Monday, a day after friends brought him to the hospital.
Christine said Thursday that Deng was forced to run a gauntlet blindfolded and with a heavy weight on his back. The teenager suffered a fatal brain injury.
Deng was one of four pledges to the Pi Delta Psi fraternity. About 30 fraternity members spent the weekend at a rented house in the Poconos.
The college says it had no knowledge about the event.
No death penalty for Pa. man charged in wife death
SOUDERTON, Pa. (AP) - Prosecutors have decided to not seek the death penalty against a southeastern Pennsylvania man facing trial in the stabbing death of his wife.
Thirty-six-year-old Walid Mitwalli of Hatfield Township in Montgomery County is charged with first- and third-degree murder in the June 7 slaying of his 30-year-old wife Mona.
Mitwalli pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of first- and third-degree murder and possessing an instrument of crime.
Prosecutor Kevin Steele said investigators could not find sufficient aggravating circumstances to legally support a death sentence.
Police said Mona Mitwalli was stabbed at least 15 times as the couple's 5-year-old twin daughters slept upstairs.
Defense lawyer John McMahon Jr. said Mitwalli will wage a self-defense claim at trial.
EX-POLICE CHIEF-CHILD PORN
Ex-police chief in Pa. charged with child porn
BEDMINSTER, Pa. (AP) - A former police chief in eastern Pennsylvania is charged with viewing and distributing online child pornography.
Police said 44-year-old Robert Geist was arrested Tuesday at his residence in Bedminster Township, Bucks County. He is the former chief of the Brecknock Township Police Department in Berks County.
Authorities allege that back in June, Geist downloaded 13 images of child pornography and a video depicting the rape of a child.
A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 17.
Geist was fired as police chief by Brecknock Township supervisors after a closed-door meeting in October 2012. Township officials said after his arrest that there was no evidence of child pornography while Geist worked there.
No foul play suspected in car death of Pa. woman
FORTY FORT, Pa. (AP) - Investigators say foul play has been ruled out in the death of a woman whose body was found inside a burning car in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Luzerne County Coroner William Lisman said Thursday that 56-year-old Suzan Ludden of Hughestown died from injuries in the fire and a medical condition.
Her body was discovered Wednesday in the driver's seat of a burning Jeep behind a business in Forty Fort.
The coroner declined to disclose Ludden's medical condition, citing patient confidentiality regulations.
He said she died as a result of the fire but was unconscious and unaware of the fire because of her medical issue.
Former Pa. gas drilling exec charged in $9.2M scam
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A former Pennsylvania gas drilling company executive has been charged with stealing $9.2 million from his company.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged 53-year-old Larry D. Winckler, of Indiana, Pa., with conspiracy, mail fraud and filing false income tax returns.
Martin Dietz, Winckler's lawyer, says his client has agreed to plead guilty to the charges, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
Winckler was chief operating officer of Falcon Drilling LLC. Prosecutors say that between 2004 and 2012, he allegedly forged checks and then forged invoices and other documents to cover up the thefts, and used the money for personal expenses and gambling.
Two other former employees of the company have already pleaded guilty to similar charges.
Pa. woman, 82, to appeal poisoning conviction
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - An elderly northeastern Pennsylvania woman behind bars for poisoning her son's girlfriend with antifreeze is planning to appeal her conviction.
A Luzerne County jury convicted 82-year-old Helen Galli of aggravated assault and other offenses after finding she gave the woman fruit juice laced with antifreeze. Galli was sentenced last week to 5 1/2 to 12 years in prison.
Her new attorney, Al Flora Jr., said Wednesday that his client will appeal.
The victim, Dawn Simyan, spent several weeks in the hospital after the 2010 poisoning. Prosecutors said Galli didn't want Simyan coming between her and her son, who had signed a $1 million natural gas lease a month before the poisoning.
Galli claimed Simyan poisoned herself to get attention.
FIRST RESPONDER-DEADLY CRASH
Pa. first responder charged for deadly crash
TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. (AP) - Authorities have charged a Pennsylvania first responder in a crash that killed a fellow Emergency Medical Technician as they rushed to an accident involving the victim's daughter.
Police in Tunkhannock, about 25 miles northwest of Scranton, have charged 29-year-old Jeffrey Allen Plata with involuntary manslaughter for the May 2013 crash. Authorities say Plata's pickup truck was going 74 mph in pouring rain when it crashed into a tree in a 45 mph zone, killing 46-year-old Tom Gruen.
Plata's attorney, Paul Philip Ackourey, noted that the men were in a hurry because they were responding to an accident in which Gruen's daughter was trapped in a vehicle. The attorney says he doesn't know how investigators determined the vehicle's speed, but may contest that once he finds out.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19.
DRIVER'S LICENSE-BRIBERY CHARGES
Cops: Pa. worker took bribes for driver's licenses
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A former state driver's license examiner has been charged with taking bribes from immigrants - mostly from the Asian country of Bhutan - in exchange for licenses for which they didn't pass driving tests.
Online court records don't list an attorney for 56-year-old Marvin Mills, who doesn't have a listed phone and couldn't be reached at a family junk-hauling business in Fayette County.
That's also the county where Mills formerly worked at the Uniontown Driver's License Center.
State police have charged Mills with taking 16 bribes, but say he tested 346 Bhutanese drivers from June 2009 until August, when the alleged scheme was detected, and failed only seven. Mills reportedly passed the last 218 Bhutanese immigrants he tested.
The charges have been filed by the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Organized Crime Unit.
SANDUSKY ATTORNEY-CREDIT DEBT
Sandusky lawyer sued over $25,000 credit card debt
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - The ex-defense attorney for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is now facing legal troubles himself.
The Centre Daily Times reports American Express Bank has sued State College attorney Joe Amendola, claiming he's failed to pay $25,485 for purchases and interest on a delinquent credit card account.
That amount is listed on a February statement attached to the Centre County lawsuit, which shows Amendola owes a minimum payment of $6,565.
Amendola tells The Associated Press he can't comment until he has a chance to review the lawsuit.
Amendola represented Sandusky when he was convicted and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison last year for molesting several boys. Amendola was Sandusky's attorney until an appeal hearing in January, when he testified claiming he didn't have enough time to prepare Sandusky's case.
Philly-area woman charged in $81,000 church theft
HATFIELD, Pa. (AP) - A church treasurer in suburban Philadelphia is accused of bleeding the church coffers of more than $81,000.
Investigators said 35-year-old Stephanie Kligge left only $36.11 in the bank account of the Emmanuel Evangelical Congregational Church in Hatfield where she worked as treasurer from July 2012 to August 2013.
Kligge was charged Thursday with theft, receiving stolen property and misapplication of entrusted funds. She is also accused of writing false treasury reports to cover her tracks.
Prosecutors said an investigation began after church officials reported getting phone calls saying their bills weren't being paid.
Kligge is in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 cash bail. Her preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 24.
Pa. man charged with pretending to be a paramedic
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania man is facing criminal charges after police said he impersonated a paramedic and told a man suffering a medical emergency that he didn't need to go to the hospital.
Twenty-year-old Zachary Charles Helsel of Middletown is charged with misdemeanor counts of impersonating a public servant and reckless endangerment.
Swatara Township police said earlier this month, Helsel falsely claimed to be a paramedic to a co-worker who was having a medical emergency.
Investigators said Helsel told the co-worker he was suffering from deep vein thrombosis and didn't need to seek treatment. Police said the co-worker's condition continued to worsen and he had to be transported to a hospital by ambulance.
Helsel's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 22 in Dauphin County Court.
FIVE DUIS-14 MONTHS
DA: How many of 5 DUIs count as 'first' offenses
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania prosecutor must decide how many of a man's five drunken-driving arrests in the past 14 months count as "first" offenses.
The Altoona Mirror reports Blair County Assistant District Attorney Julia Wilt was prepared to treat all three of Mark Huggins' arrests since Oct. 20 as "first" offenses because arrests occurring while a motorist waits for a disposition on the first case are still "first" offenses, legally. Huggins, a 47-year-old Duncansville man, was also arrested Nov. 2 and Nov. 14 in Blair County.
But the prosecutor has since Huggins was convicted of an Oct. 13, 2012 offense in Somerset County and another in Cambria County on Sept. 24.
Numbering the cases is important because Huggins faces 30 days in jail for any "second" offenses and up to a year on any deemed "third" offenses.
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