Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Roundup

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

By Shealyn Kilroy

Philadelphia District Attorney:

A woman who literally inked her name on a voting machine is schedule for trial on April 12, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Authorities received a complaint that Oxana Turketsky, 64, had written her name in ink on the voting machine at the 6900 block of Summerdale Avenue at the 53rd Ward. “Oxana Turetsky” was handwritten on the machine next to the box for “write in” candidates, police confirmed. Turetsky later admitted to writing her name on the voting machine. is charged with tampering with records, criminal mischief and tampering with voting machines.

Turetsky’s charges were brought as part of the Election Fraud Task Force the DA’s office created in November 2014. The purpose of the force was to address voter concerns and investigate criminal activity during elections.

Daniel Dougherty
Daniel Dougherty was found guilty for a second time on April 12 for starting the fire that killed his two sons in 1985. After the verdict was read, Dougherty yelled at the jury, “You got it wrong!”, according to’s Jeff Gammage. The jury deliberated for 15 days, and one juror was replaced after she emotionally couldn’t take it anymore.

Dougherty was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000. Dougherty’s sentence was reduced to life in 2012 after the ineffectiveness of Dougherty’s lawyer. A retrial was granted due to this and due to the advancements in forensic fire science that may have aided to Dougherty’s defense.

Assistant District Attorney Jude Conroy asked the judge to immediately sentence Dougherty to two consecutive life terms. Judge J. Scott O’Keefe agreed, adding a 10-to-20-year concurrent penalty for arson. "I haven't seen this despicable of a crime in a long time,” O’Keefe said, according to Gammage.

Robinson (top left), McKnight (bottom right), and Sawicki III.
Three Philadelphia Police officers, two different cases, and one thing in common; the officers were acquitted. A jury acquitted former 25th District officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson on April 11 in the May 2013 assault of Najee Rivera. The courtroom was filled with supporters of the officers. Edward Sawicki III was there to congratulate the officers. Sawicki III, another former officer from the 25th District, was acquitted weeks earlier of charges he used racially motivated slurs and threatened to kill an African American man in a 2013 off-duty traffic stop. While promoters of McKnight and Robinson were present in the courtroom, Rivera was not; he died in an unrelated incident in 2015.

Pennsylvania Attorney General:
Michael Gans
A Northeast Philadelphia man has charged and arrested for possession of child pornography, announced the Attorney General’s office on April 12. Michael Gans, 38, of Barnett Street in Tacony was charged following an investigation that traced a child porn sharing network back to Gans’ IP address. A search warrant was executed on Gans’ residence, and authorities recovered multiple computers with suspicious files. Gans’ is charged with two counts of distribution of child pornography, 50 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He posted 10 percent of his $25,000 bail and released from custody. A preliminary hearing is scheduled around April 21.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania: 
A California woman was indicted April 14 for interfering with a flight making it’s way to Philadelphia, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Jamie Lynne Combs, 35, of McKinleyville, California, allegedly assaulted and “intimidated” the flights’ attendants during United Airlines No. 384 from San Francisco to Philadelphia on March 18. Combs was arrested at Philadelphia International Airport, where authorities found that Combs allegedly possessed marijuana - a Schedule I controlled substance. Combs could see a prison sentence, a fine, and supervised release. 

Shealyn can be reached at

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