Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wiseguys And Wannabes Back In Business

"Uncle Joe" Ligambi and George Borgesi/photo courtesy Fox 29
By George Anastasia

Ron Galati won't be taking part in the underworld renaissance currently unfolding in South Philadelphia.

Instead, the wannabe wiseguy and auto body shop owner, who is already serving a 23-year federal sentence for a murder conspiracy conviction, is due in Common Pleas in September to answer fraud and murder-for-hire charges.

A trial date of Sept. 7 was set this morning at a status conference hearing before Judge Jeffrey Minehart. Galati, his wife Vicki and his son, Ron Jr., are slated to be at the defense table along with several other defendants if that trial goes off as planned.

Galati has been off the streets for the past two years and has missed out on what law enforcement sources are describing as the resurgence of the local crime family. At his bail hearing two years ago, Galati, now 65, was described by Assistant District Attorney Dawn Holtz as having a "close personal relationship" with then mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and Ligambi's nephew, mobster George Borgesi.

Both Ligambi and Borgesi were back in the news this week. On Monday, reporter Dave Schratwieser on a Fox 29 television special report, offered an update on the local mob, noting that Ligambi, Borgesi and others are frequently spotted at a recently opened clubhouse at 11th and Jackson Streets and that Borgesi and others have branched out into the construction and home rehab business with an office on Passyunk Avenue.

The Roundup

A weekly tab on what's going on 
in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy

Philadelphia District Attorney:

The gunman who shot Officer Jesse Hartnett on Jan. 7 in the “name of Islam” is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 25, according to the district attorney’s office. Edward Archer, 30, from Yeadon told detectives, "I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that's why I did what I did," according to Homicide Capt. James Clark. The investigation is still pending on whether Archer had direct ties to ISIS or acted on his own. The story has furthered a national conversation around what can be defined as terrorism. Philadelphia’s new mayor, Jim Kenney, said he believed the shooting “has nothing to do with Islam.”

Retired Philadelphia Police Department mounted cop Walter Sasse, 75, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl beginning when she was 15. Sasse is scheduled to make an appearance in court on Jan. 27, according to the District Attorney’s office.The two-and-a-half year relationship allegedly occurred at Courtesy Stables in Andorra where Sasse and the victim worked, according to authorities. Sasse retired in 1991 after 20 years with the force. According to the docket, Sasse was arrested on March 6, 2014 and will stand trial for eight charges, including engaging in anal or oral intercourse (IDSI) with a person less than 16-years-old and indecent assault of someone less than 16-years-old.

Newsweek's Cover Boy Makes A Splash

By Ralph Cipriano

In a "victim's impact" statement read in court on June 12, 2013, "Billy Doe" told Judge Ellen Ceisler, "It finally feels good to make my family proud of me."

Well congratulations, Billy. They must have really been proud last week when you were outed coast-to-coast as a lying, scheming fraud with a Pinocchio nose on the cover of Newsweek!

On the internet, reaction to Newsweek's scoop spilled across a half-dozen Google pages. Catholic bloggers teed of on the former altar boy. Conservative commentators Breitbart and Hot Air noted the Rolling Stone connection, that the same reporter who bought Billy's serial rape story in that discredited magazine also fell for "Jackie's" bogus story about gang rape at a UVA frat house.

Susan Matthews, publisher at, wondered, "Why is the church paying the [$]5 million?" Oh, that was another bombshell in the Newsweek story; that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had basically caved in to fraud and paid Billy an estimated $5 million to settle his civil suit for his alleged pain and suffering. Good question, Susan. It's one that every Catholic should be asking their archbishop before they put another dollar in the collection basket.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab on what's going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy

Philadelphia District Attorney:

Jan. 19 - The capital murder trial of Alfred Whitefield, 42, accused of gunning down Carmen Medina, 31,  and her boyfriend Thomas Gorman, 39, on April 23, 2013 began on Tuesday. In an alleged feud to rent out a drug corner in Kensington, preliminary testimony divulges that Whitefield took Medina and Gorman’s life instead of paying $500. The Medina family’s corner on Somerset and Swanson Streets has been a popular and busy drug corner that sold over 100 prepackaged branded heroin a day, according to authorities.

Two juveniles are schedule for a hearing Friday, Jan. 22, who are accused of beating to death a homeless man outside of a Sunoco in April 2015. Robert Barnes, 51, died from his injuries on Nov. 25, 2015. Out of the six accused, three adults - Aleathea Gillard, 34; Shareena Joachim, 24; and Kaisha Duggins, 24, - face attempted murder charges. Three juveniles are accused of participating in the attack and range in age from 12 to 14-years-old at the time of the incident. Two of the juveniles are Gillard’s children, but their names have not been released.According to the DA’s office, only two of the juveniles are expected to attend Friday’s hearing and could be tried as adults. 

Newsweek Outs "Lying, Scheming Altar Boy"

A forensic psychiatrist and the retired detective who led the district attorney's investigation into Billy Doe's allegations of serial rape don't believe he's telling the truth.

The Newsweek cover story that outed the "lying, scheming altar boy" can be read here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Scarfo's Cousin Gets 30-Month Term

By George Anastasia

Nobody wants to go to jail, but 30 months is a lot better than 30 years.

That's the bottom line for John Parisi who was sentenced this morning for his role in the FirstPlus financial fraud case.

Parisi is the cousin of Nicodemo S. Scarfo who, along with Salvatore Pelullo, was convicted last year of masterminding the $14 million ripoff of FirstPlus Financial, a Texas-based mortgage company. The government charged that Scarfo, the son of jailed mob boss Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky" Scarfo, and Pelullo, a mob wannabe, used the specter of organized crime to instill fear into FirstPlus officials and employees while secretly taking control of the company back in 2007.

Each was sentenced to 30 years in prison by Judge Robert Kugler back in July.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Oldfellas -- Aging Mobsters And Their Fight To Stay Out Of Jail

Here is a link to a piece in AARP magazine called OldFellas. You may recognize some of the names and events.

- George Anastasia

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Duka Brothers Have Their Say

By George Anastasia

They wanted to tell their side of the story in their own words and their lawyers wouldn't let them.

That's the argument brothers Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka offered in federal court today in a last ditch attempt to have their convictions and life sentences vacated in the Fort Dix terrorism trial.

With friends and family members rallying outside the federal courthouse in Camden and amid tight security, a day long series of hearings -- each brother had his own -- played out in the fourth floor courtroom of Judge Robert Kugler, the same judge who had presided over their trial eight years ago and who had sentenced each to a term of life plus 30 years.

"Free the Dukas now," supporters chanted from behind gated barriers set up in front of the courthouse as dozens of law enforcement officials from Homeland Security, the Camden County Police Department and the Sheriff's Department stood watch. The rally included dozens of placards decrying the convictions and proclaiming, among other things, "Islamaphobia Convicted the Dukas Brothers" and "Innocent Until Proven Muslim."

"We hope this time they see it the right way," Ferik Duka, the father of the three brothers, said as he stood in the cold outside the courthouse. "God willing. There is no way they intended  to do (what the government alleged.)"

That, as always, has been the fundamental issue in the case.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Twisted Legal Logic Of "Mariana"

Careful, Mariana might be watching
By Ralph Cipriano

If "Mariana" ever chaperoned an eighth grade dance, many junior high boys might leave in handcuffs.

Going by the legal logic expressed on this blog by "Mariana" -- who may or may not be former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen -- any guy in pants who presses his penis against another clothed person may be guilty of rape. That's the stated opinion of a commenter on this blog who identified herself only as "Mariana." A commenter who, in a question directed by me to former ADA Sorensen, may have divulged the legal logic behind that fatally flawed 2011 grand jury report that Sorensen wrote.

Regular readers of the blog may recall that I occasionally mention that 2011 grand jury report and how it contained more than 20 factual errors. After three years of hearing about that, "Mariana" apparently got pissed enough to spill the legal beans in the commentary section on this blog.

For three years, Sorensen's old boss, District Attorney Seth Williams, has relentlessly stonewalled all of my questions about that flawed 2011 grand jury report, still proudly posted on his website. Williams may be reckless enough to misstate facts at press conferences when he knows the rest of the media won't hold him accountable. But he's not dumb enough to be drawn into a battle he can't win, namely any discussion about the mistakes in that 2011 grand jury report.

But, thanks to "Mariana," we may now have some insight into the twisted legal logic behind that 2011 grand jury report. 

Bernard Shero Loses In State Supreme Court

By Ralph Cipriano

The state Supreme Court on New Year's Eve turned down an appeal by Bernard Shero in the Billy Doe case.

On June 12, 2013, Shero, then 51, was sentenced by Judge Ellen Ceisler to 8 to 16 years in jail after he was convicted by a jury of rape of a child, attempted rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault.

The Supreme Court decision means that Shero is out of appeals on the state court level. In a 36-page decision last March, a panel of three Superior Court judges ruled that seven appeals issues raised by Shero, a former Catholic school teacher, "are either waived or devoid of merit."

The state Supreme Court decision was more succinct. In a one-page order, the court declared, "And now, this 31st day of December, the Petition for Allowance of Appeal is DENIED." The only other sentence on the page mentioned that "Justice Eaken did not participate in the decision of this matter." That's because Justice Eaken is presently serving a suspension with pay in the "porngate" scandal pending a trial by a judicial ethics board.


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