York Businessman Accused In Murder-For-Hire Plot Free On $10M Bail

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A York-area business owner accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife’s lover walked out of York County Prison on Friday morning.

Gregory Allen Hess, through a local bail bondsman, posted his $10 million bail and left the prison at 11:04 a.m., according to prison records.

Hess, 46, of 1950 Hoff Road in North Codorus Township, is charged with solicitation to commit homicide.

The co-owner of Keystone Restoration & Builders Inc. is accused of paying $1,900 to a man identified in court as “Informant 1” to kill Christopher Ward, who was involved with Hess’ wife, Laurie Hess.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25865269/york-businessman-accused-murder-hire-plot-free-10m

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Former Gov. Mifflin Swim Coach, Exeter Teacher Guilty Of Molesting 4 Female Students

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Wyomissing man who formerly taught and coached in two Berks County school districts pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting four female students between 2003 and 2011.

Jonathan D. Bell, 31, faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison followed by 10 years of probation under a plea agreement.

Bell is a suspended art teacher at Exeter Senior High School. He was fired from his position as the water polo and swim coach at Gov. Mifflin School District.

Berks County President Judge Paul M. Yatron ordered the state Sexual Offender Assessment Board to conduct an evaluation before Bell’s sentence is imposed to determine if he is a sexually violent predator.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131218/NEWS/312199965/1052#.UrJo-fRDsxI

Judge: Pottstown Merchant Peddled ‘Death’ When He Sold K2

NORRISTOWN — Saying a Pottstown merchant peddled death when he sold synthetic marijuana from his downtown convenience store, a judge sent the man to state prison.

Rafie L. Ali, 35, who previously lived in an apartment above the Achi Store he operated at 315 E. High Street between February and May 2012, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Tuesday to seven to 14 years in a state correctional facility.

“He’s no different than a drug dealer, pure and simple,” said Judge Steven T. O’Neill, referring to Ali’s decision to sell the dangerous substance in a community that has waged a battle against drug dealers and addiction. “The nature of what was sold in that store destroys the fabric of a community. You engaged in danger in a community that doesn’t need it, doesn’t need any more drug dealers.”

Ali, who apologized for his conduct before learning his fate, remained solemn as the punishment was imposed.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131126/judge-pottstown-merchant-peddled-death-when-he-sold-k2

Philadelphia ‘Slumlord Millionaire’ Gets 6 Years In Prison

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robert N. Coyle Sr., a notorious Philadelphia slumlord, stood before the judge yesterday in tears, minutes before he was to be sentenced for defrauding banks of more than $10 million.

Coyle, 68, told U.S. District Court Judge Stewart Dalzell about his struggles growing up poor in Kensington, the same neighborhood where he later acquired wealth.  As a child, he lived in rickety houses and his mother worked in sweatshops and he slogged away in a paper factory as a teen, he said.

He became a real-estate mogul and admitted to the court he made mistakes when the economy soured.  In making his plea, Coyle, who wore a gray suit over his hefty frame, took several breaks to compose himself.

“I am not a slumlord,” he said, his voice quivering

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130517__Slumlord_Millionaire__gets_6_years_in_prison.html#i8j4odiP1s7VadYl.99

Corrections Officer Killed At Federal Prison In Wayne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wayne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wayne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A corrections officer from Nanticoke was killed by an inmate at a federal prison in Wayne County last night, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Eric Williams, 34, was killed by an inmate who used a homemade weapon at the U.S. Penitentiary, Canaan, a federal prison for male inmates.  He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 11:30 p.m.

“This is clearly the darkest day in our institution’s short history, and we are in shock over this senseless loss of a colleague and friend,” Warden David Ebbert said in a statement.

Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said the prison remains in lockdown and that the FBI is investigating the attack.  He referred comment on potential charges to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/corrections-officer-killed-at-federal-prison-in-wayne-county-1.1450249

Man Charged With Assaulting, Torturing Elderly Sisters Waives Hearing

A 22-year-old man will be tried for binding, beating and torturing three elderly Mennonite sisters last year in what police called a case of “ethnic intimidation.”

Dereck Taylor Holt and his attorney, Alan Goldberg, waived a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning on numerous offenses, including felony aggravated assault, robbery, unlawful restraint and reckless endangerment.

In turn, District Judge Tony Russell ordered Holt to be tried on 23 charges related to the Dec. 14 incident in Clay Township.

Holt, locked up on $1 million bail since his arrest Dec. 16, appeared in the Ephrata courtroom only to sign paperwork.  He said nothing.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/811494_Man-charged-with-assaulting–torturing-elderly-sisters-waives-hearing.html#ixzz2K3oNvcKr

Prison Time For Parking Fines Raises Legal, Monetary Issues

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With a constable waiting to take her to jail, bookstore owner Melody Williams wiped tears and called a friend.

Williams told her to pay the shop’s electric bill and rent. She also said she might have to pack up her apartment.

Struggling for composure, Williams, 36, explained that Senior District Judge Jene Willwerth was sending her to jail for overdue parking fines.

“It was a short and sweet hearing,” recalled constable Karl Salisbury, who took Williams into custody at her store on May 31. “The judge said, ‘You owe $2,300 collateral. You’re being committed to Lancaster County Prison.’ ”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/669646_Prison-time-for-parking-fines-raises-legal–monetary-issues.html#ixzz1xs7OXs10

Allegheny County Defends $3M Strip Search Settlement

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Speaking of strip searches and WTF moments!

PITTSBURGH – Attorneys for western Pennsylvania‘s largest county jail are defending their decision to pay $3 million to settle a class action involving 1,600 inmates who were strip searched before doing time for minor offenses, even though the U.S. Supreme Court decided such searches are legal earlier this week.

The 2010 settlement involving the Allegheny County Jail included payments to any inmates strip searched for a minor offense between July 13, 2004 and March 18, 2008. About 12,000 inmates were believed to have been eligible for the money, but only a fraction responded with class action claims. Those inmates divided the money remaining after deducting $1 million in attorneys’ fees and another $265,000 went to pay a firm that processed the claims.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/state/pennsylvania/20120403_ap_pacountydefends3mstripsearchsettlement.html#ixzz1rDqsASbf
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Montgomery County Prison’s $23.5 Million Expansion Completed

In an effort to eliminate overcrowding at the Montgomery County Prison, a new 512-bed addition has been constructed.  The new wing is completed and pending final inspection before prisoners can move in.

The new wing is a departure from a traditional cell block.  Prisoners will be housed in a dormitory setting, without bars.  Bunk-beds are placed along walls in large open rooms.  The new wing is for nonviolent offenders.  Of course, there are plenty of locked doors, guards and cameras.

The prison was built to house 1240 inmates.  It was then expanded and currently is home to about 1800 prisoners.