Monday, May 18, 2020

Another Career Criminal Freed By 'Uncle Larry' Meets A Tragic End

By Ralph Cipriano

When Anthony O'Connor got out of jail last year, thanks to a boatload of favors from his Uncle Larry in the D.A.'s office, O'Connor's lawyer was hoping his client could turn his life around.

The police say that O'Connor, 30, of Jamison PA, was a career burglar who belonged in jail. But the D.A.'s office saw O'Connor as another unfortunate victim of mass incarceration who deserved another chance.

So in four separate court appearances over the last two years, prosecutors under District Attorney Larry Krasner agreed to drop 27 new burglary cases against career burglar O'Connor. On top of that, the D.A.'s office under Uncle Larry made a total of 184 charges against O'Connor stemming from those 27 new burglary cases literally disappear from court records. The D.A.'s office pulled that off by marking all 27 of those new burglary cases "limited access," so that the press and public couldn't see them.

"Hopefully, he's keeping out of trouble," Joseph Kevin Kelly, who bills himself as the DUI lawyer, said in January when interviewed about his client the career burglar who, thanks to his D.A. Krasner, was out there enjoying his newfound freedom.

Tragically, trouble found O'Connor last week. At approximately 9:42 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13th, a driver operating under the influence -- and another possible new client for Kelly -- struck a car driven by O'Connor and killed him.

The accident occurred in the 4900 block of Whitaker Avenue. An Acura driven by Charles Smith, 42, of the 4300 block of N. Sixth Street, traveling at nearly 100 mph, according to the cops, struck a Nissan driven by O'Connor.  O'Connor's vehicle subsequently struck a utility pole before crashing into some parked cars.

A medic unit that arrived at the scene pronounced O'Connor dead, according to Patrol Officer Miguel Torres of the police department's office of public affairs. A passenger, a 30-year-old pregnant woman said to be O'Connor's girlfriend, was transported to Temple University Hospital where she was reported in critical condition, Torres said.

Torres declined comment Friday on hospital reports that the pregnant woman not only lost her baby, but also had to have a leg amputated. Police confirmed to Action News, however, on Sunday that the baby was dead.

Kimberly Hartz, O'Connor's girlfriend, gave an interview from her hospital bed to Dann Cuellar of ABC6. She said she and O'Connor had known each other since high school and had been together for the past four years.

"He meant everything, he was my everything," Hartz told Channel 6. She said that both the baby and O'Connor were to be cremated Thursday, May 21st, but that her doctors have told her she won't be well enough to go.

"I'm hoping that I can get him cremated holding the baby so he and the baby can be in heaven together," Hartz told Channel 6.

Smith, the driver of the Acura, was transported to Temple University Hospital where he was treated for scrapes and cuts. He was subsequently arrested, according to Torres, and charged with vehicular homicide and related offenses, in addition to DUI. Police told Channel 6 that when the crash occurred, Smith was high on PCP and alcohol.

O'Connor this month became the second criminal recently let out of jail by Krasner's office to meet a tragic end.

On May 6th, Alberto "Hawk" Pagan, a former drug dealer doing 22 to 44 years for trying to murder a cop, was shot to death on the 3100 block of Byberry Road as he was leaving a relative's house. Pagan, who according to court records was previously responsible for ordering the execution of another rival drug dealer, was himself gunned down by an assassin who showed up on the block an hour earlier, just to stalk Pagan as kids were riding by on bicycles.

Attention all of you who voted for criminal justice "reform" by pulling the lever for Larry Krasner for D.A. This is what you bought for Philadelphia. According to his Facebook page, "Larry Krasner fights for equal justice for the great people of Philadelphia. A fair and effective criminal justice system makes us safer."

But Krasner's version of fair is to ignore crime victims and cater to criminals. And on the 3100 block of Byberry Road, nobody was feeling safer the night former drug dealer Pagan was hunted down and executed.

Pagan, 61,  got out of jail on Dec. 3rd after serving only half of his 44-year prison term. When Pagan was killed, John Ruane, the cop Pagan shot 22 years ago, went on social media to blame Krasner for the early release.

"Thanks D.A. Larry Krasner for NOT letting me know you let out the guy who shot me 22 years ago, out of prison halfway through his 44 year sentence!" Ruane wrote.

O'Connor was another habitual criminal freed by Krasner. At the time of his death, O'Connor had a rap sheet that ran 18 pages and included more than 40 arrests, mostly for burglary, as well as drugs. But despite his lengthy criminal record, four different judges in 2018 and 2019 agreed to dismiss the 27 new burglary cases after the D.A.'s office claimed either a lack of evidence or a lack of prosecution.

According to police, O'Connor's alleged speciality was breaking into apartment buildings in Northeast Philadelphia and stealing change by busting open coin-operated laundry machines. He made off with as much as $800 during his laundromat capers, while leaving behind thousands of dollars in property damage.

And even as the judges, at the request of the D.A., were dropping multiple burglary charges against O'Connor, the police were arresting him again, as recently as last year, for committing more burglaries.

The last time around in court, the cops had some victim testimony and one of O'Connor's latest burglary capers had been caught on camera. But in an interview last January, defense lawyer Kelly said that the surveillance video against his client was "blurry" and that the cops and prosecutors "really couldn't prove it was him."

"There was no witnesses," Kelly said. He conceded it was "very unusual" to get so many cases dismissed against a client. But when Krasner, the criminal's best friend, is the D.A., anything is possible.

Especially if you're a smart defense lawyer, like Kelley, who made campaign contributions to Krasner for D.A.

In defense of his client, Kelly said last January that all of the burglary cases against O'Connor were dismissed after he made restitution. According to Kelly, O'Connor paid about $3,000 to reimburse the vending companies.

Kelly could not be reached for further comment on the passing of his former client.

O'Connor had spent 23 months in the Bucks County prison when he was released last July. At the time of his release, O'Connor had another year and a half to run on his sentence.

It's ironic but had Uncle Larry not been so merciful, O'Connor would still be in jail, but at least he'd be alive.

And so would Pagan. 

1 comment

  1. "Larry Krasner fights for equal justice for the great people of Philadelphia. A fair and effective criminal justice system makes us safer."
    I'll tell you why I voted for Krasner, I watched three federal prosecutors and an FBI agent lie, outright lie to a grand jury and a federal judge. We need reform at the DOJ, it has to be a crime for the prosecution to lie to get an indictment and use guerilla warfare tactics to have innocents sign plea bargains. As there is no accountability when it comes to the FBI or prosecutors voters took matters into their own hands. When given a choice people who have been wronged by the justice department would opt for a person who they think would understand the outrages that have been inflicted on people by the prosecution.

    That being said, no one in their right mind would agree with how Krasner is running the DA's office. His new DA's would have served society more effectively if they had pursed social work careers or became drug counselors. Right is right and wrong is wrong. This man should never have been given the brakes that he was given nor any of the other gun violators who walked.

    This is why Americans are so angry, we watch injustice daily and no one is held accountable, from this career criminal to the prosecutors who sit in the federal building. We need reform, this is not the reform I wanted, I did not want criminals to be set free or given their 100th break to go out and commit more crimes. I wanted prosecutors who invent crimes to be shown the door, I wanted the voters to be able to say that lying to juries and the media is wrong, that putting their own career advancements before the lives of innocents is a crime.

    From Seth Williams, Louie Freeh, and Frank Fina, who run criminal schemes while collecting a paycheck from Uncle Sam to crimes that impact our everyday lives. A fair and effective criminal justice system would make us safer if prosecutors who lie and criminals who commit crimes were put in jail.


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