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. 

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:

Jan. 14 - Nathaniel Rodriguez, 40, of Philadelphia was indicted on Jan. 14 for two counts of kidnapping for ATM access around Nov. 6, 2015. Rodriguez could face life in prison for allegedly forcing “K.J.” to accompany him to withdraw money from K.J.’s account and for allegedly forcing the same process on “P.M.N.L.” Both K.J. and P.M.N.L. have not been identified to the public but are known to the grand jury.
New Jersey Attorney General:

Jan. 19 - Juan Gutierrez-Valencia, 25, of Pemberton Township, N.J., pleaded guilty of  first degree possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in an undercover meth and heroin crackdown led by the New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration called “Operation Speed Racer.” 

Gutierrez-Valencia was arrested back on July 7, 2014 when he allegedly planned to buy two kilos of crystal meth at a hotel in Mount Laurel. After allegedly showing the detective a large gym bag containing crystal meth, the detective got out of the car and called for backup. In efforts of allegedly trying to flee from the feds, Gutierrez-Valence struck and injured two state troopers. 

Gutierrez-Valencia suffered a non-fatal gunshot wound to his arm when another trooper fired at him. State troopers found two kilos of meth and a stolen 9mm handgun after issuing a search warrant for Gutierrez-Valencia’s vehicle.  Gutierrez-Valencia also pleaded guilty to second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun and fourth-degree obstructing the administration of law - for striking the troopers. The state suggested that Gutierrez-Valencia face over 10 years in prison and three and a half years parole ineligibility.

Four other men last week pleaded guilty under Operation Speed Racer. Sentencing for Gutierrez-Valencia is scheduled for April 1, and the four men are scheduled for sentencing on April 15.

U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey:
Jan. 21 - Former UConn and NBA star Tate George, 47, was sentenced to 108 months in prison for his role as “CEO” of “The George Group” in an investment fraud scheme. The George Group was George’s fake real estate business that claimed to have $500 million in assets that allowed George to steal $2 million from investors, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. 

George’s status as a player for New Jersey Nets and Milwaukee Bucks made investors think The George Group and its finances were legit, because NBA players supposedly are trustworthy, authorities said. The money did go to a “good” cause: George's daughter’s sweet 16 birthday party and a YouTube video about himself, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Shealyn Kilroy can be reached at