Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Roundup

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

By Shealyn Kilroy
for BigTrial.net


 District Attorney of Philadelphia:
 

Daniel Dougherty
Seventeen years ago, Daniel Dougherty was sentenced to death for setting his home on fire that killed his 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons in 1985. On March 21, a retrial of the case began after Dougherty, 56, won his appeal. Dougherty has proclaimed his innocence since his estranged wife Adrienne Sussman came to authorities 14 years after the fire insisting he had admitted to arson. In his past testimony, Dougherty denied deliberately setting fires and claimed he was the failed hero that could not save his sons’ lives. But since the original trial, two arson investigators have reexamined the evidence and found no conclusive indicators of arson, according to CNN.

Philly.com's Jeff Gammage covered the trial on March 23. Gammage reported that Assistant District Attorney Jude Conroy insisted that there's no doubt that Dougherty intentionally set the fire. Defense lawyer David Fryman stated that if Dougherty was truly guilty of this crime, it would have surfaced before Sussman came to police. Sussman did not testify at the original trial. She, along with Dougherty's trial lawyer Thomas Ciccone, and other witnesses are deceased.

Brandon McKelvey is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 23 for charges related to a 2014 abduction and execution, according to the District Attorney's office. McKelvey was charged with murder, kidnapping, robbery, conspiracy and weapons offenses for allegedly shooting two men, one fatally, on April 17, 2014. Carl Johnson, 29, was found dead with his hands and face duct taped . McKelvey is one of the five men who face charges in this case. Deforest Johnson, Christopher Corley, Ken Thomas, and Nysare Oneil O. Alston were charged similarly. Thomas pleaded guilty in January to third-degree murder. Police say the motive was robbery.

New Jersey Attorney General:
 
Jose Fortuna and Wilson Fortuna
Jose O. Fortuna and Wilson Fortuna pleaded guilty to operating a heroin mill and first degree heroin charges on March 22, according to the Attorney General’s office. Both are from Camden, Jose, 40, is the uncle of Wilson, 26 and were arrested in October 2013 along with four others in Operation China White and Operation 3Ni -- drug investigations led by federal and N.J. police. 


When a search warrant was executed on a home shared by Jose, Wilson, and Jasmine Vallar, 38, authorities found s heroin lab in the basement containing a steel hydraulic press, 12 containers of a dietary supplement used as a cutting agent, scales, tools used for cutting and packaging, a currency counter, and $30,000 in cash. They also found a plastic bag containing three-quarters of a kilo of heroin. Charges against Vallar are still pending. 

Wilson was dealing drugs and getting the heroin from the basement mill. Jose could see 14.5 years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, on the heroin distribution charge, and a concurrent sentence of 12 years, including 4 ½ years of parole ineligibility, on the heroin production facility charge. The recommended sentence for Wilson is 11 years in state prison, including more than three years of parole ineligibility on the distribution charge, and a concurrent sentence of seven years on the conspiracy charge.

Pennsylvania Attorney General:Three men have been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography on March 23, according to the Attorney General’s office.
Christopher Douglass



Christopher Wayne Douglass, 34, of Venango County was charged with 23 counts of child pornography related charges. Investigators were led to Douglass after an undercover investigation into online child pornography sharing led to Douglass’ IP Address. Authorities executed a search warrant on Douglass’ residence and found questionable files on his cell phone and laptop Failing to post bail of $50,000, Douglass is being held at Venango County Prison.

Peter M. Medve, 32 of Northhampton County was charged with 317 counts of child pornography related charges. Similarly to the Douglass case, investigators discovered a computer on a file sharing networked believed to depict child pornography, and that IP address associated with the computer was allegedly registered to Medve.

After a search warrant was executed on Medve’s home, authorities found child pornography files on multiple devices. Medve failed to post 10 percent of his $150,000 bail and is currently being held at Northhampton County Prison. A preliminary hearing is tentatively set for March 29.


Timothy Morrow

 

Timothy Wade Morrow, 54, of Westmoreland County, is charged with 20 counts of child pornography related charges. An undercover investigation led authorities to execute a search warrant on Morrow’s residence. On scene, a computer forensics team found two hard drives with numerous apparent child pornography files. Morrow failed to post $25,000 bail and is confined to the Westmoreland County Prison. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 23.


Shealyn can be reached at shealyn@bigtrial.net

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