Friday, April 29, 2016

The Roundup

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

By Shealyn Kilroy
For BigTrial.net

Philadelphia District Attorney's Office:
What's going on with Philadelphia cops?

A Philadelphia Police Officer turned himself in after an investigation of a domestic incident, police announced April 28.

On March 6 around 4:10 a.m., Alex McAdams, 28, allegedly removed a screen from a side window of his girlfriend’s first floor apartment, broke the window, entered, and took a personal item before chasing her outside. McAdams has been arrested, and a District Attorney approved affidavit contains the following charges: burglary, criminal trespass, theft and criminal mischief. McAdams is a four year veteran of the force.

A man who allegedly beat his girlfriend to death with a hammer was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 26, according to the District Attorney’s office. Zetic Porter allegedly got into an argument with girlfriend Izesha Gateward, 32, on March 6. Police responded to 2500 block of North 17th Street around where they found Gateward “bleeding from her head and body,” according to Philly Mag. Gateward was pronounced dead at the scene around 5:25 p.m.

Rudolph Churchill
A man accused of the 1989 rape and slain of two North Philadelphia women appeared in court for trial this week, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Rudolph Churchill, 54, allegedly killed prostitutes Ruby Ellis and Cheryl Hanible, a case that had been unsolved until 2013. Philadelphia police had been testing for DNA in cold case homicides under a federal grant, came up with a match for Churchill in an FBI database. Churchill, who at the time of the slayings lived in the 1300 block of Ridge Avenue in North Philadelphia, a few blocks from where both bodies were found, had not been a suspect until authorities found a match. The prosecution alleges that Churchill's DNA is on two pieces of evidence: a bloody paper towel found in the car near Ellis' body, and on Hanible's sneaker, according to Philly.com.

According to Joseph A. Slobodzian's reports of the trial thus far, testimony from DNA experts has sparked debate in the courtroom. Churchill, under his Constitutional rights, is declining to testify. The trial began April 18, and the jury has not yet reached a verdict.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:
South Philadelphia Tap Room
Photo by Philly Drink Nation
A lawsuit was filed on April 25 against the South Philadelphia Taproom and it’s owner John Longacre for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, announced the U.S. Attorney’s office April 26. The lawsuit alleges that the restaurant located on 1509 Mifflin St. has barriers in place at the entrance and restrooms for those with disabilities - a violation that is identified as discrimination. After being notified of these violations, the South Philadelphia Tap Room declined to communicate with the U.S. Attorney’s office. The lawsuit is a result of a review conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in March 2015 to evaluate the ADA compliance of the 25 most popular Philadelphia restaurants.

A Bucks County man was indicted on April 27 with child porn related charges, an obstruction of justice charge and destruction of evidence charge. Norman Ridgeway, 26, of Croydon, Pa., was being pursued by police for child porn when he allegedly restored his cell phone back to factory settings, erasing all child porn. Ridgeway allegedly made a phone call to another person instructing them to find and destroy an SD memory card he kept in his wallet, which contained child porn. If found guilty, Ridgeway may spend a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, with a maximum possible sentence of 100 years in prison, a possible fine, three years of supervised release, and a $700 special assessment.

Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office:
Melanie Bullock
A Philadelphia woman was arrested for creating a fake job to receive benefits from the state victims program, announced the Attorney General’s office April 29. Melanie Bullock, 50, of the 3100 block of N. Taylor Street was reported as a victim of an assault in which she suffered multiple stab wounds, according to a criminal complaint. Bullock submitted a fraudulent claim with the Victims Compensation Assistance Program, a state program created to provide financial assistance to crime victims. In the claim, Bullock was seeking $38,500 to cover the seven months pay for being out of work due to the assault. However, the “job” she was out of work Bullock allegedly created simply for the benefits of VCAP. Bullock , is charged with one count each of attempted theft by deception, forgery, tampering with records or identification, tampering with public records or information, criminal use of a communication facility and filing a false claim A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 25.

Shealyn can be reached at shealyn@bigtrial.net

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