Police: man held woman at gunpoint
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A New York
man who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault charges after being accused of holding
a woman hostage at gunpoint and barricading himself in a Nanticoke home was sentenced
Wednesday to serve up to 42 months in prison.
Daniel Dosette, 40, of Huntington
Station, pleaded guilty last month to charges alleging he held his girlfriend,
Kenyatta Myrick, hostage at gunpoint following a violent domestic dispute. Police
said he refused to surrender after she called 911 and escaped, and that officers
eventually had to storm the home.
Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas imposed
the sentence Wednesday, ordering Dosette to serve 18 to 42 months in prison on
the assault charges as well as on a cocaine trafficking charge in another case.
Dosette was ordered to pay $239 in restitution and to forfeit $202.
Death of Lake Silkworth victim ruled accidental
Halpin - Citizens Voice
The Nanticoke man whose body was recovered
from Lake Silkworth last week died of accidental causes, according to the Luzerne
County Coroners Office.
The body of Adam C. Lutz, 22, was recovered
from the lake Friday, more than a month after he mysteriously vanished while driving
around the Back Mountain with a friend.
An autopsy conducted Tuesday determined
Lutz died of accidental causes, Coroner Bill Lisman said. The exact cause of death
wont be known until toxicology testing is completed, but investigators have
ruled out foul play, he said.
Around 10:45 p.m. Nov. 9, a friend reported
that Lutz had vanished into thin air after driving around Harveys
Lake and along state Route 29. The friend, who has not been identified, reported
that they pulled over twice on the drive, the second time to pick up a cellphone
that had fallen onto the road, police said.
When the friend returned to the
idling vehicle, Lutz was gone, according to police.
Authorities searched the
lake and surrounding area for days after the disappearance, finding some of his
clothing along the shoreline. Lutzs body was finally discovered under the
lake ice on Friday.
at Lake Silkworth IDd as missing Nanticoke man
- Citizens Voice
The body recovered Friday at Lake Silkworth is that of
Adam C. Lutz, 22, of Nanticoke, who had gone missing in the area in November.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, said Luzerne County Coroner Bill Lisman.
Lutz had been missing since the night of Nov. 9.
A friend reported around
10:45 p.m. that night that he had vanished into thin air after driving
around Harveys Lake and along state Route 29. The friend, who has not been identified,
reported that they pulled over twice on the drive, the second time to pick up
a cellphone that had fallen onto the road, police said.
When the friend returned
to the idling vehicle, Lutz was gone, the friend told police.
the water and the area around the lake in the days after the missing person report,
and located some of Lutzs clothes, including a boot and a hat, along the
But as days passed without more leads, the search turned into a
Authorities searched the lake extensively after the disappearance,
at one point calling in dive teams from New Jersey. For weeks, the search continued.
On Friday, it yielded results. A dive team broke a hole in the lakes ice
to recover the missing body.
Now, the autopsy will give investigators more
information about the circumstances around Lutzs death.
Nanticoke woman facing theft charges
Halpin - Citizens Voice
A Nanticoke woman is facing
retail theft charges after police say she stole 17 items from a Family Dollar
Kyla Sepulveda, 28, of Hill Street, is facing a single misdemeanor
count of retail theft after a manager at the store at 43 S. Main St. caught her
shoplifting Thursday, police said.
Prior to police arrival, the manager was
able to recover some of the stolen items, according to police. When officers got
on scene, Sepulveda removed four additional items from her coat and shirt, police
Police arrested Sepulveda, who was also wanted on drug possession and
prostitution charges out of Dunmore. She was being held at the Luzerne County
Correctional Facility with bail set at $10,000.
homicide suspect would qualify for death penalty
Anthony Spudis, 35, formerly of Nanticoke, was charged Thursday with
the 2013 death of 97-year-old Gertrude Price. Police allege he stabbed her with
a screwdriver after breaking into her Nanticoke home.
A state inmate charged
with stabbing a 97-year-old woman to death with a screwdriver more than four years
ago could face the death penalty if Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie
Salavantis elects to pursue it.
While the judicial clock for Luzerne County
prosecutors began Thursday when they charged Anthony Joseph Spudis, 35, with an
open count of criminal homicide, prosecutors have until the formal arraignment
to notify the court if they intend to seek Spudis death.
must pass their first test at a preliminary hearing tentatively set for Jan. 15,
where they must convince a district judge that enough evidence exists to send
the case to trial. A formal arraignment is scheduled if the case advances out
of district court.
Spudis case qualifies for the death penalty as he
allegedly killed Gertrude Price during the commission of a felony in this
case, robbery and burglary which is an aggravating circumstance. Spudis
is also facing robbery and burglary charges in addition to the criminal homicide
There are 18 separate aggravating circumstances in Pennsylvania for
prosecutors to seek the death penalty if there is a conviction of first-degree
Salavantis could not be reached for comment Friday.
accused of killing neighbor Price inside the womans petite residence on
West Grand Street in Nanticoke on Nov. 28, 2013.
State Police at Wyoming and
Nanticoke police alleged Spudis used a screwdriver to force open a basement window
at Prices residence, and proceeded to ransack the place.
allege when Spudis was confronted by Price, he stabbed her in the face multiple
times with the screwdriver.
Spudis continued to ransack Prices home
before leaving, only to return after confiding in his girlfriend, Tayrn Simms.
Investigators say when Simms accompanied Spudis to Prices home, they found
the elderly woman not breathing on a bed.
Simms has not been charged in the
Investigators previously believed the killer entered Prices home
through a ground-level basement window sometime between 10:30 p.m. Nov. 28, 2013,
and 9:35 a.m. the next day. State Police said neighbors reported lights were turned
on at Prices home at about 11 p.m. Nov. 28, which they said was not normal.
Soon after the discovery of Prices body, separate reward
funds were established.
Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers, a non-profit organization,
featured Price on its website Dec. 5, 2013, indicating a possible $2,500 cash
reward for information needed to solve the case.
Former Nanticoke police officer
Kevin Grevera set up a fund with $1,000 from his own pocket, which quickly grew
to more than $10,000 due to donations and fundraisers, including a Zumbathon at
Nanticoke Fitness Center and Tanning that raised more than $1,100.
fund was managed by a committee with the Fraternal Order of Eagles and set up
at PNC Bank. Grevera could not be reached for comment Friday to determine what
will happen to the reward.
Man charged in cold-case Nanticoke slaying
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A former city man stabbed a 97-year-old
woman with a screwdriver and fatally beat her during a burglary at her home on
Thanksgiving night more than four years ago, according to charges filed in court
Police charged Anthony Joseph Spudis, 35, with criminal homicide,
burglary and robbery in the death of Gertrude Price, whose family found her brutally
beaten body in her bed at 23 E. Grand St. in Nanticoke on Nov. 29, 2013.
a press conference announcing the arrest, Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie
Salavantis said Spudis broke into Prices home to burglarize it.
in the residence, he encountered Ms. Price and senselessly inflicted severe trauma,
which led to her death, Salavantis said. I would like to extend my
thoughts and prayers to the family of Gertrude Price. I hope this (arrest) provides
them some peace of mind that the person responsible for the loss of their mother
or grandmother is now being held accountable for the heinous crime he had committed.
Prices daughter Carol Belmont and her husband, Richard, found Price dead
the morning of Nov. 29, 2013, her battered body motionless in her bed, and her
The great-great-grandmother, an active and independent woman,
endured such a pummeling, relatives say, that the right side of her face was crushed
in. An autopsy determined she had been repeatedly stabbed in the head with a screwdriver
and beaten about the face, resulting in a broken nose and jaw.
The cause of
death was blunt-head trauma and the manner was ruled a homicide. Police have described
the attack as a random act of violence.
According to a police affidavit, Spudis
who was living with his girlfriend at 2 W. Union St., 820 feet away from
Prices home went out to burglarize homes Thanksgiving night that
year. Thinking no one was home, Spudis entered Prices residence by breaking
a basement window frame and screen, according to the affidavit.
When he encountered
Price, Spudis stabbed and beat her to death, and then continued robbing the home,
police said. Afterward, he told his girlfriend, Taryn Simms, that he pushed Price
and she fell down but was still alive, the affidavit says.
Simms back to the home, where she saw Price lying in her bed, not breathing, Simms
told police. She said Spudis explained that he didnt mean to hurt Price
and that they couldnt call the police, according to the affidavit.
summer, police executed a search warrant on the basement of the home at 2 W. Union
St., finding numerous items belonging to Price including bills, mail, family photos
and a white jewelry armoire, according to the affidavit.
They also found a
pair of Timberland boots that matched shoe impressions collected in Prices
basement, police said. According to the affidavit, police also found Spudis
DNA on the boots and a pair of rubber gloves, along with a kitchen knife found
where the window was broken.
But they also found Simms DNA on the knife
as well as on the basement window screen, the screwdriver and a white shelled
necklace found next to Prices bed, according to the affidavit.
records indicate that Simms has not been charged in connection with the break-in
or murder. Salavantis declined to comment on whether additional charges could
be filed, saying Spudis is right now, the only person who is being charged
with the murder of Gertrude Price.
At the time of his arrest Thursday,
Spudis was an inmate at State Correctional Institution Somerset. Court records
show he is serving a 7.5 to 15-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a
series of burglary and theft cases in 2014.
He will be held without bail on
the murder charges.
in connection with 2013 Thanksgiving homicide in Nanticoke
Leader Staff Report
An arrest has been made in connection with a homicide
that occurred over four years ago in Nanticoke.
Police are accusing Anthony
Spudis, 35, of killing Gertrude Price in her home on Thanksgiving in 2013.
This announcement came at a press conference called by Luzerne County District
Attorney Stefanie Salavantis at the Pennsylvania State Police Wyoming baracks
Salavantis said shoe impressions found in the basement floor
of Prices floor matched Timberland boots recovered in Spudis residence,
located at 2 W. Union St., Nanticoke.
Spudis allegedly went around burglarizing
homes in the Nanticoke area.
He entered Prices home on Nov. 28, 2013,
through the basement window, Salavantis said.
Spudis allegedly encountered
Price, pushing her.
Salavantis said Spudis continued to burglarize the home,
before returning to his residence, where he told his girlfriend, Taryn Simms,
about the incident.
Simms told investigators she went with Spudis back to
Prices home, where she said she saw Price lying on her bed, not breathing
and with injuries to her face.
A relative found the 97-year-old woman dead
in her ransacked home the next day after neighbors noticed strange lights in the
An autopsy performed by Luzerne County Coroner William Lisman led to
the conclusion that Price had been murdered, dying from blunt head trauma.
Spudis is currently incarcerated at a state prison in connection with another
charge. He is being transported to the State Police barracks for processing.
Price, a retired dressmaker and a great-great-grandmother, insisted on living
at her East Grant Street home to maintain her independence.
death, several reward funds were started, with one offered by former Nanticoke
City police officer Kevin Grevera and a second started by the Pennsylvania Crime
It is currently unclear if these rewards are still being offered,
or if they will be given to anyone following Spudis arrest.
Police: Intoxicated woman tried assaulting, bribing officer
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A woman who called 911 to report
she had been abducted and sexually assaulted was arrested early Monday after kicking
a police officer and offering him a bribe in exchange for her release, according
Jessica Lynn Sensebach, 28, of Nanticoke, is accused of trying
to pay an officer $800 to avoid being arrested after she panicked while under
the influence of drugs and alcohol, resulting in her making a false rape report,
Officers were dispatched to South McLean Street shortly after
4 a.m. Monday to the report that a woman had been forced into a home and sexually
assaulted. Police arrived to find Sensebach visibly intoxicated and
asking to go home, according to a police affidavit.
Two people with Sensebach
told police they had just met her at Laceys Bar and Catering in Nanticoke
and continued drinking at a friends house in Wilkes-Barre, but that Sensebach
had begun screaming and calling the police.
When officers asked Sensebach
what happened, her eyes began darting around and she said, This is fake,
according to police. An officer shined a flashlight on his uniform and pointed
out the marked patrol cars, but she wouldnt listen and grew irate, police
Sensebach kicked Officer Peter Cordaro in the leg several times before
police arrested her during which time Sensebach hit her head on a porch
while struggling, police said.
Sensebach repeated that she just wanted to
go home and maintained that she called police to bring her there, according to
Police say they encountered a very strong odor of marijuana
from a vehicle Sensebach had been sitting in, and that during a subsequent search
they found a large bag of marijuana and a digital scale.
From the back of
a police car, Sensebach began yelling and banging her body on the car door before
an officer opened it and she offered the bribe, police said.
give you $800 right now! the affidavit quotes Sensebach as saying, explaining
that she wanted to be released in exchange for the cash.
Police shut the car
door and Sensebach began thrashing around some more on the way to the police station,
according to the affidavit.
Police charged Sensebach with aggravated assault,
bribery, resisting arrest, making a false report, disorderly conduct, possessing
marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, harassment and public intoxication.
Magisterial District Judge Thomas F. Malloy Sr. arraigned Sensebach on Monday
morning and ordered her jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with
bail set at $15,000.
attacked child in viral video gets jail time
The Nanticoke woman accused of shoving a young girl for talking to her
man appeared defiant in court Tuesday, offering a brief apology only after being
prompted to do so.
Marlenea Ann Uravage was sentenced to serve four to 20
months in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility during a contentious sentencing
hearing Tuesday morning in which she requested a probationary sentence when asked
to make a statement.
Does the word Im sorry come to
mind? Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas asked.
for pushing you, Uravage offered in a terse response.
Uravage, 30, previously
pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor assault charge for shoving the child to
the ground after she began talking to a male companion of Uravages outside
a convenience store in May. She was set to be sentenced Friday, but failed to
appear in court and was subsequently arrested.
According to prosecutors, the
attack happened while victim Presley Keeney was waiting for her father, who was
buying some drinks inside the Quick Stop on Spring Street on May 28. A man who
had been with Uravage outside the store approached Presley and asked if he could
get some of that, an apparent reference to some food the girl was
eating, according to prosecutors.
Thinking the man was homeless and hungry,
Presley went to hand him a Slim Jim, prompting Uravage to ran over and begin hitting
the man, prosecutors said. The man turned to run, and Uravage turned toward Presley,
saying Are you (expletive) stupid? according to prosecutors.
violently shoved Presley in the chest, causing the girl to fall backwards hard,
The attack was captured on video that went viral and help
police identify Uravage as the assailant.
Assistant District Attorney Angela
Sperrazza rejected Uravages request for a probationary sentence, noting
she had to be prompted to apologize for the crime.
This was a random
act of violence against a child, Sperrazza said.
The victims mother,
Chere Fuller, told the judge that since the attack, Uravage has contacted her
family on Facebook, describing her daughter as looking like a whore
who was talking to her man.
She doesnt have any remorse,
Fuller said. I dont understand why she did what she did. There was
Later the in the hearing, Lupas again noted Uravages
lack of remorse and gave her another chance to make a statement.
keep seeming to want to get into confrontations with everyone, the judge
Uravage, who appeared in court wearing a yellow jumpsuit and a black
eye, offered another tersely worded apology, shaking her head as she said, Im
sorry for pushing you. I dont know what...
Noting that Uravage
has displayed absolutely zero remorse for the crime, Lupas imposed
more time on her than the 49 days she has already served for the crime. The judge
sentenced her to four to 20 months in jail, ordering her to have no contact with
After the hearing, Fuller said she was pleased with the sentence.
She still shows no remorse, so maybe going to jail and having to do some
programs for anger management and mental health, shell eventually see that
what she did was really wrong, Fuller said.
charge two men with robbing Nanticoke store
Eric Mark - Citizens
City police have
arrested two men in connection with a robbery at the Cocoa Hut convenience store
in Nanticoke early Sunday morning, and one of the men is a suspect in two other
recent robberies, according to police.
Scott Defrain, 31, and Bobby Wicks,
40, were arraigned on charges related to the robbery at the Cocoa Hut store on
East Main Street at about 2 a.m. Sunday, police said. Defrain was charged with
robbery and related offenses, while Wicks was charged with conspiring with Defrain
to commit the robbery, according to police.
Both men were sent to Luzerne
County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 bail, police said.
remains a suspect in the Nov. 13 armed robbery at Burger King and the Nov. 16
attempted robbery of a Curry Donuts shop, both in Nanticoke, according to police.
Arrests in those cases are imminent, police said.
Police ID Nanticoke Rite Aid
robbery suspect; seek tips to locate him
Kulsoom Khan - Times Leader
Police have identified the man who they say attempted to rob a Rite Aid Pharmacy
in the city Nov. 3.
Ryan Stanley Romanoskey, 25, formerly of Nanticoke, demanded
money from the cashiers register along with two cartons of cigarettes, according
to a police report. He ran from the store when the cashier screamed for help,
A warrant has been issued for Romanoskeys arrest. He
is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 175 pounds with brown hair and
Anyone with information on Romanoskeys whereabouts is asked to
contact the Nanticoke City Police Department at 570-735-2200 or by
Police probe report of LCCC
student with gun on campus
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
City police are investigating a report that a Luzerne County Community
College student pulled a gun on a classmate Monday on campus.
sent out an alert about the incident and notified police on Tuesday after the
victim reported the incident to campus security. In Tuesdays alert, college
officials notified students and staff about an incident a day earlier regarding
a student who was shown a gun by another individual in a campus parking
The incident led to heightened alert on campus with
increased patrols, though classes resumed as normal, the college said.
police Detective Capt. Robert Lehman said the incident happened on Monday around
2 p.m., but the victim didnt tell college officials until Tuesday around
Lehman said he interviewed the victim late Tuesday afternoon. He said
the victim and gunman had several altercations in the past.
a random act. Its not the first time they had contact with another,
The victim said the two exchanged words and the suspect pulled
the gun, Lehman said.
He showed him he had one, he said.
said police on Tuesday night were trying to identify and locate the suspect.
No injuries were reported.
Charges have yet to be filed.
Burger King hold-up under investigation
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A man who entered the Burger King on Monday
night pulled a gun robbed the restaurant, according to police.
the robber approached the counter of the store at 1 W. Main St. shortly after
9:30 p.m. and passed a note demanding cash, claiming he had a gun. The robber
then pulled what appeared to be a black handgun, police said.
the money, the robber ran out and headed south on South Market Street, according
Investigators described the robber as a black man between 30 and
35 years old who was a medium height and had a thin mustache. He was wearing a
black and gray baseball cap with a gray sweatshirt and sweatpants, police said.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call police at 570-735-2200
or by dialing 911.
Man who was beaten last month and stuffed in his trunk dies
Halpin - Citizens Voice
The city man who police say was abducted, brutally
beaten and stuffed into the trunk of his own car more than three weeks ago has
died of his injuries, according to his family.
Charles Eget, 64, was critically
injured Oct. 20 after being beaten with a tire iron and log by a man he offered
to give a ride home, according to police.
His daughter told The Citizens
Voice that Eget passed away Sunday evening.
Egets alleged assailant,
identified by police as Bradley John Butler, 42, of 537 Linden St., Scranton,
is already facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping,
robbery and other offenses.
State police spokesman Trooper David Beohm said
authorities plan to charge Butler with criminal homicide as a result of the death.
According to state police, Eget offered Butler a ride home the morning of Oct.
20 after encountering him outside a diner across from Mohegan Sun Pocono casino
in Plains Twp.
But as the pair neared Butlers home, Butler saw a police
car and got scared someone was looking for him because he was wanted on a parole
violation, police said. Butler then directed Eget to drive to a secluded spot
in Fairmount Twp., police said.
Troopers allege that when Eget stopped, Butler
began punching him and took his cellphone, ordering him to get in the back seat.
Butler took the wheel but eventually got into a hit-and-run crash with a white
construction van, causing Eget to get upset and begin yelling about damage to
the car, police said.
Feeling scared and agitated, Butler pulled into a private
driveway in the area of state Route 118 west of state Route 487 and told Eget
to get out, police said. According to police, Butler pulled a four-way lug wrench
from the trunk of the car and hit Eget on the left side of the head.
went unconscious, and Butler stomped his head while he was on the ground, police
said. Butler then stuffed Eget into the trunk, bashing his head with a log several
times in an effort to keep him from waking up, according to police.
Butler drove about 100 miles until the car broke down along Interstate 78, where
he called for a tow, police said. Butler was arrested after he disclosed to the
driver that there was what he thought was a dead body in the trunk.
police questioning, Butler said he was on methadone and panicked after getting
into the crash, not knowing what to do.
Earlier this month, a magistrate in
Lebanon County forwarded all 18 counts against Butler to the Court of Common Pleas
for trial. Butler remains jailed at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility,
where he is being held on $1 million bail.
man 'vanished' near Lake Silkworth
Nanticoke man vanished near Lake Silkworth in Lehman Twp., according
A friend of Adam Christopher Lutz, 22, of Nanticoke, reported the
man missing at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday and police have been searching for him ever
Lehman Twp. police Sgt. Mark Liparela said the department received
a call Thursday night saying Lutz had vanished into thin air after
driving around Harveys Lake and along state Route 29 with a friend.
said Lutz and his friend, who Liparela did not identify, pulled over twice during
their drive. The second time, Lutzs friend left the car to retrieve his
cellphone, which had fallen out onto the road.
When Lutzs friend returned,
Lutz had disappeared, Liparela said.
The car was still there, idling,
Liparela said Lutz was last seen on foot on Thursday night. He is
6 feet tall and weighs 145 pounds, Liparela said. Lutz also wears earrings in
both ears and was last seen wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and jeans.
Liparela said anyone with information can contact the Lehman Twp. Police Department
at 570-675-1483 or dial 911.
man pleads guilty to assault charges
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A New York man accused of holding a woman hostage at gunpoint and barricading
himself in a Nanticoke home pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated assault charges.
Daniel Dosette, 40, of Huntington Station, pleaded guilty to two felony aggravated
assault charges in exchange for other charges being dismissed.
alleged Dosette held his girlfriend, Kenyatta Myrick, hostage at gunpoint following
a violent domestic dispute, and that he refused to surrender to police who surrounded
the home after she called 911 and escaped. Officers eventually stormed the home
and took Dosette into custody.
In court Thursday, Dosette also pleaded guilty
to possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute in a separate case. Luzerne
County Judge David W. Lupas accepted the pleas and set sentencing for Dec. 28.
Police: Fisticuffs suspect nearly
ran down officers
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
man fleeing the scene of a fight nearly ran down several police officers who tried
to get him to stop, according to city police.
Mason Dana Hill, 18, of 264
Town Hill Road, is facing aggravated assault charges after police say they had
to take evasive maneuvers to avoid being hit by his speeding car.
According to a police affidavit, officers were dispatched to the PNC Bank at 600
S. Market St. the afternoon of Oct. 4 to a report of a fight in progress.
Police say Hill had confronted another man, asking if he had a problem. Hill pushed
the other man, who then punched Hill in the face, police said.
girlfriend intervened and they began walking away, with Hill continuing to yell
derogatory names at his opponent, police said.
When officers arrived on scene,
they saw the argument ending as Hill got into a gray Mitsubishi Eclipse, according
to the affidavit.
As police approached the vehicle, yelling for them to stop,
Hill sped up toward officers who were standing in the entrance of the parking
lot, police said. The officers had to get out of the way to avoid being hit, police
Officers got Hills license plate number as he fled the scene,
but were unable to find him after a police vehicle arrived on the scene.
got a warrant for Hills arrest charging him with six counts of aggravated
assault, six counts of simple assault, three counts of reckless endangerment,
one count of disorderly conduct and numerous traffic violations.
show Magisterial District Judge John E. Hasay arraigned Hill on Wednesday morning
and released him on $10,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing was set for
Nanticoke Police searching
for man who tried to rob Rite-Aid
Police are currently searching for a suspect involved in an attempted robbery
at Rite-Aid Pharmacy at 5 E. Main St.
City Police are investigating
an attempted robbery at the Rite Aid Pharmacy that occurred shortly after 7 p.m.
Police say a male suspect approached the cashiers counter and
demanded the money from the cash register along with two cartons of cigarettes.
The suspect then proceeded to jump onto the counter. The cashier pushed the suspect
off the counter and began to scream for help. The suspect then fled from the store.
The robber was described as white, around 30 years of age, medium height and with
a thin build. He was wearing a red-hooded, long-sleeved shirt, black pants and
red sneakers. He also may have been a passenger in a maroon or red Hyundai Sonata
upon arriving at the store at 5 E. Main St.
Anyone with information about
the suspect and/or his whereabouts is asked to contact the Nanticoke City Police
Department at 570-735-2200.
in abduction, beating will stand trial
James Halpin - Citizens
A Scranton man accused of abducting and severely beating a Nanticoke
resident who offered him a ride will stand trial on attempted-murder charges,
a magistrate ordered Thursday.
Bradley John Butler, 42, of 537 Linden St.,
is facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, robbery
and other offenses after he allegedly attacked Charles Eget, 64, with a tire iron
and stuffed him into the trunk of his own car.
Court records show Butler waived
a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Kim R. Wolfe in Lebanon
County on Thursday morning, resulting in all 18 counts against him being forwarded
to the Court of Common Pleas for trial.
Eget was critically injured and his
family says he has not improved in the two weeks since the attack.
not a person he knows that has anything bad to say about him. He would give anyone
the shirt off his back and the last penny he had, his daughter, Jennifer
Eget, said Thursday. He was hurt for thinking everyone had a heart like
According to state police, Charles Eget encountered Butler outside
a diner across from Mohegan Sun Pocono in Plains Twp. the morning of Oct. 20 and
offered him a ride home.
When they neared Butlers home, he saw a police
car and got paranoid that someone was looking for him because he was wanted on
a parole violation, police said. He told Eget to drive instead to a secluded spot
in Fairmont Twp., police said.
Troopers allege that when Charles Eget stopped,
Butler began punching him and told him to get in the back seat. Butler drove off
and eventually got into a hit-and-run crash before stopping along state Route
118 west of state Route 487, where he attacked Charles Eget with a tire iron,
When Charles Eget went unconscious, Butler stomped his head and
then stuffed him in the trunk before hitting several times with a log to prevent
him from waking up, according to police.
Butler then drove about 100 miles
until the car broke down along Interstate 78, where he called for a tow, police
said. Butler was arrested after he disclosed to the driver that there was a body
in the trunk.
During police questioning, Butler said he was on methadone and
panicked after getting into the crash, not knowing what to do.
jailed at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility, where he is being held on
$1 million bail.
shooting ruled justified
Sarah Scinto - Citizens Voice
Fish and Boat Commission Officer was justified in fatally shooting a man who attacked
him along the Susquehanna River in Plymouth Twp. earlier this week, the district
attorneys office ruled.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis
released the ruling on Friday afternoon. She said the officer shot Sean Bohinski,
37, of Nanticoke three times on Tuesday after the man had attacked the officer
and struck him repeatedly with a rock.
According to the release, the as yet
unidentified officer was patrolling the river bank near the intersection of routes
11 and 29 just before 2 p.m. Tuesday when he detected an unusual smoke odor.
When the officer approached the smoke, he found Bohinski burning the insulation
from copper wiring and using a machete to stir the fire.
Salavantis said the
officer believed the wire was stolen and asked to frisk Bohinski for his safety.
During the pat down, Salavantis said Bohinski turned and struck the officer in
the face, breaking his glasses and leaving a cut on his face.
fled toward the river and the officer pursued him. Bohinski entered the river
and realized the current was too strong for him to cross, so Salavantis said he
turned and attacked the officer a second time with a rock.
The officer stopped
Bohinski briefly, Salavantis said, then the Nanticoke man continued to attack
with a rock from the river. She said the officer tried to defend himself with
spray and his baton, but he was bleeding excessively, dizzy, exhausted and unable
to reach his baton. She said he unholstered his sidearm and fired three times,
The officers equipment suffered water damage that
prevented him from calling for assistance from the river. He made it back to his
patrol vehicle, Salavantis said, and radioed for advanced life support assistance.
Salavantis said Bohinski had outstanding warrants from the Dallas Twp. police
department for fleeing and eluding, a history of fleeing from various departments
and a methamphetamine habit.
She declined to release the officers name
on Friday but said he has been released from the hospital and is recovering from
Con-ui gets life without
parole for brutal murder
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
serving 25 years to life for murder, gang assassin Jessie Con-ui was sentenced
Thursday to life in prison without parole for the vicious murder of a federal
correctional officer at U.S. Penitentiary Canaan.
A jury in June convicted
Con-ui, 40, of murdering correctional officer and Nanticoke native Eric Williams,
34, in a brutal attack on Feb. 25, 2013.
But the jury deadlocked on whether
to put him to death for the crime, setting the stage for a mandatory life sentence
and a sentencing hearing that was largely a formality.
who attended the trial daily, was absent from the courtroom Thursday.
supported a death sentence and were outraged that the jury deadlocked, with father
Don Williams saying at the time that the jury did absolutely nothing.
Williams co-workers at Canaan, who likewise attended the trial in force,
also skipped the hearing, save for a nurse who was among those who worked to save
Williams after the attack.
Con-ui who appeared by video from U.S. Penitentiary
Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, where he is being held
in isolation appeared at ease prior to the hearing, smiling and joking
about food as he slouched in his chair while wearing an orange jumpsuit.
did not address the court, with his attorneys saying Con-ui would stand by a statement
he made during trial.
Im sorry my actions caused so much heartache
and pain, Con-ui said at the time. I wish I could take back what I
did. I wish I could take back what happened. I wish I could give you a better
explanation on why I did this, but I cant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Francis P. Sempa briefly addressed the court and expressed disappointment with
the jurys verdict, noting that Con-ui, a member of the New Mexican Mafia
who goes by Chino, is already serving 25 years to life in prison for
executing a gang member in Phoenix in 2002.
The Williams family, he said,
continues to struggle with knowing that Con-ui has received little additional
punishment for his crime.
Theyre never going to believe that justice
was done in this case, Sempa said. Our words ring hollow.
Defense attorney James A. Swetz of Stroudsburg said the defense respects the jurys
verdict but still feels for the Williams family.
We have great sympathy
for the Williams loss, Swetz said.
At the time of the slaying,
Con-ui was serving the tail end of an 11-year federal prison term for trafficking
33 pounds of cocaine.
Upon completion of the federal time, he would have been
shipped to Arizona to serve out his murder sentence there.
But that changed
in February 2013 after another officer searched his cell and removed some minor
contraband, including homemade speakers made from altered headphones and cardboard.
Feeling disrespected, Con-ui ambushed Williams, kicking him down a flight of stairs
before laying into him with two shanks stabbing and striking Williams more
than 200 times, in addition to stomping and slamming the officers head on
Despite delivering a quick guilty verdict for the crime, which
was captured on a grim video played for jurors, the same jury deadlocked in July
on whether he should die for the crime with a lone holdout determining
Con-ui would get a mandatory sentence of life without parole.
the sentence Thursday, U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo ordered Con-ui to
serve life without the possibility of parole for Williams murder.
will also have to serve five years for possessing contraband in prison and to
pay $300 in court costs, the judge ordered.
Man sexually assaulted teen in Nanticoke
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
City police on Wednesday charged a Laurel Run man with the sexual assault
of a 15-year-old girl.
Christopher Cornell, 21, faces felony counts of statutory
sexual assault and corruption of a minor, and misdemeanor counts of indecent assault
of a person less than 16 years old.
Cornell was 20 and the girl was 15 when
they had sexual intercourse on multiple occasions in July at a home on East Noble
Street in Nanticoke, according to police.
Cornell was arraigned Wednesday
before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker and sent to Luzerne County
Correctional Facility in lieu of $500,000 bail, police said. A preliminary hearing
is scheduled for Oct. 4.
convenience store robbed at gunpoint
Sarah Scinto - Citizens Voice
A man wearing surgical gloves and carrying a gun robbed an East Main
Street convenience store early Tuesday morning, police said.
Police said the
man entered the Cocoa Hut Convenient Mart around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday and demanded
cash while pointing a gun at the clerk and a customer. Police said he wore a grey
hoodie, blue jogging pants, New Balance sneakers and blue surgical gloves and
covered his face with a white towel.
information on the robbery can contact Nanticoke City Police at 570-735-2000.
Jailed man charged in Nanticoke robbery
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
A man already in jail on unrelated charges has
been charged with the armed robbery of a Nanticoke convenience store in July.
Charles Weitz, 21, of Pittston Twp., was arraigned Tuesday on charges of robbery,
theft and criminal conspiracy. Police allege that he and a juvenile male robbed
the Cocoa Hut on East Main Street at gunpoint on July 26.
Weitz as a suspect based on store surveillance footage, according to a criminal
On Sept. 7, Nanticoke police interviewed Weitz at Luzerne County
Correctional Facility, where he was being held based on an unrelated case. Weitz
admitted he committed the robbery, stating it just happened, the complaint
Weitz remains jailed in lieu of bail, pending a preliminary hearing
scheduled for Sept. 27.
man hid crack in buttocks
A Nanticoke police officer pulled
over a vehicle driven by city resident David Bienkowski at approximately 9:55
a.m. Tuesday, police said in a news release.
Officers took Bienkowski, 37,
into custody based on an outstanding arrest warrant for alleged drug-related crimes
on July 7, police said.
Bienkowski acted nervously as he was escorted to a
holding cell, and when officers searched him they found a plastic bag sticking
out of his buttocks, according to police.
The bag contained several smaller
baggies containing a white powdery substance, which Bienkowski told officers was
crack cocaine, police said. The substance tested positive for cocaine, according
Police charged Bienkowski with a felony count of possession with
intent to deliver a controlled substance, and misdemeanor counts of possession
of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, based on Tuesdays
He faces multiple counts of the same charges, plus four felony counts
of criminal use of a communication facility, based on the July 7 arrest warrant.
Bienkowski was arraigned Tuesday before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker
and sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 bail. A preliminary
hearing is scheduled for Sept. 27 before Whittaker.
helping police keep up with new state rule
Eric Mark - Citizens
FORTY FORT The computer screen lit up in red and a beep sounded
throughout the police interceptor sport utility vehicle.
Officer Anthony Smith
of the Forty Fort police department knew he had just passed a vehicle with an
You cant take a ride through town without
this thing going off, Smith said Friday.
Smith pointed to a screen attached
to the computer in the police SUV, on which photographs of vehicles popped up
in quick succession. Cameras attached to the patrol vehicle took photos of license
plates of almost every vehicle Smith drove past.
License plate recognition
software, connected to state and national databases, did the rest.
stopped issuing month/year stickers to place on license plates as of this year,
local police departments have been forced to find other ways to determine if a
vehicles registration is current.
Forty Fort is one of three departments
in Luzerne County, along with Nanticoke and West Hazleton, to settle on
a camera-and-software solution, according to borough police Chief Daniel Hunsinger.
Forty Fort has two vehicles equipped with the system, according to Hunsinger,
who said he learned about license plate recognition software at a police chiefs
convention in Erie.
The hardware and software combined cost about $17,000,
Hunsinger said. The first unit was paid for through a Local Share Account state
gaming grant, while the police departments operating budget covered the
cost of the second system, Hunsinger said.
The system provides useful information
for officers on patrol, Smith said.
The old sticker-based system only indicated
if a registration was expired, whereas the computer software lets an officer know
if a registration is suspended or listed as belonging to a stolen vehicle, he
It lets officers know what they are dealing with, Smith
During a 15-minute ride on Friday, the camera took 271 photos of vehicles.
The system registered 12 hits, with one suspended registration and
11 expired registrations.
Borough Mayor Andy Tuzinski credited state Rep.
Aaron Kaufer and state Sen. Lisa Baker for supporting Forty Forts efforts
to obtain the state grant and get the system up and running.
Man charged with firing shots at Nanticoke man after
Darnell Corley, 24,
faces charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless
endangerment and discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure.
allege that Corley fired four shots at Marcus Bradley on July 22 at Bradleys
Nanticoke home, after Bradley and his ex-lover Brittany Maciolek got into an argument
and Maciolek threatened to have Bradley killed.
Maciolek left Bradleys
home that day and returned hours later with Corley, police allege in a criminal
Bradley told police that Corley, whom he recognized, used a stun
gun on him through an open bedroom window, then fired shots at him from a handgun
at close range, the complaint states. Bradley was not struck by the gunfire.
Officers obtained video surveillance footage that showed Maciolek, Corley and
others park near Bradleys house, then run back to their vehicles two minutes
later, according to the complaint.
Police obtained arrest warrants for Maciolek
and Corley on July 24. Maciolek was arraigned Friday, while police took Corley
into custody on Tuesday.
He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge
Donald Whittaker and sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000
Maciolek is also in county jail. A preliminary hearing for both defendants
is scheduled for Aug. 30 before Whittaker.
woman accused of shooting at ex's home
A city woman wanted in connection with
a shooting at a Nanticoke home last month was arraigned and sent to county jail
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
21, faces felony and misdemeanor conspiracy charges in connection with the July
22 incident at the West Field Street home of Marcus Bradley, described in a police
affidavit as a former sexual partner of Macioleks.
to a report of gunshots at the home, according to a criminal complaint filed by
Bradley told police that Maciolek and another woman had
been at his residence earlier, and Maciolek confronted him over sleeping with
the other woman, the complaint states. The dispute grew physical and Maciolek
punched Bradley in the arm several times. She told Bradley she was going to have
him killed, then left the home, according to the complaint.
Bradley said he
heard a knock at his door a few hours later, then heard a side bedroom window
open. At the opened window, he saw Maciolek standing next to a man Bradley recognized
as Darnell Corley, the complaint states.
Bradley told police that Corley shot
him with a stun gun through the open window, then fired four shots from a handgun
at him, according to the complaint. Bradley was not struck by the gunfire.
Investigators obtained video surveillance footage that showed Maciolek, Corley
and others park outside Bradleys home, then run back to their vehicles two
minutes later, the complaint states.
Police obtained arrest warrants for Maciolek
and Corley on July 24 and took Maciolek into custody Friday.
arraignment, Maciolek was sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu
of $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9 before Magisterial
District Judge Donald Whittaker.
Corley, 24, remains at large as of Friday
Former Nanticoke mayor and
teacher facing charges for allegedly luring teen boys
A former teacher and Nanticoke mayor who served probation for his guilty
plea to fondling a boy in 2003 faces a new set of charges for allegedly attempting
to lure three teenagers into his car by offering them money, police said.
Edward J. Butkiewicz, 76, of Sandwedge Drive in Mountain Top, faces five counts
each of corruption of minors and luring a child into a motor vehicle, as well
as single counts of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He served as mayor
in the mid-1980s and later on the City Council, and was a Greater Nanticoke Area
teacher in the 90s.
In 2003, he was sentenced to two years of probation on
a misdemeanor indecent assault charge for fondling a 13-year-old boy, who was
a former student.
His sentence was handed down with a stern reprimand from
then-Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella: Its a shame, Mr. Butkiewicz.
In a short period of time you managed to ruin a reputation beyond reproach. Whatever
problems you have, I hope you deal with them.
According to the affidavit
in the latest case, a 13-year-old boy was in the parking lot of an apartment complex
on Rock Street in Newport Township Sunday when Butkiewicz pulled up to him in
a silver Cadillac asking the boy where he could get a drink nearby.
then quickly turned more personal when Butkiewicz asked the boy about
his private area, the affidavit says. Butkiewicz allegedly asked to
see the boys private area and added he would do things to the
boy that the boy described as weird.
Butkiewicz gave the boy $3
and offered him more money to get in the car with him and go for a ride, but the
boy refused, the affidavit says. Butkiewicz left, but noted hed be back.
The boy then went home and told his mother, who called 911.
A search of the
vehicles registration led police to identify Butkiewicz.
Three days later, on Wednesday, Newport Township police received
a report the same man was again attempting to lure children at the same apartment
A 16-year-old boy told the responding officer Butkiewicz tried to
get him into his vehicle Sunday after asking the teen if he was gay and
he wanted to make money, the affidavit says. The teen said he was again
approached by Butkiewicz on Wednesday. Another 16-year-old said Butkiewicz also
asked if he wanted to make money that day, according to the affidavit.
The two teens brought Butkiewicz to their apartment where they quickly called
911. As Butkiewicz tried to leave, a juvenile girl blocked his truck by pretending
her car was broke until police arrived, the affidavit says.
The officer asked
Butkiewicz if he was in the area that past Sunday and gave money to children,
and Butkiewicz acknowledged that he was and that he often gives money to children,
the affidavit says. Butkiewicz allegedly told the officer he was at the apartments
because one of the teens offered to give him a tattoo.
In the affidavit, the
officer noted he observed money on the passenger seat and a protective seat cover
over the backseat.
The affidavit further states the arresting officer was
cut on his hand attempting to take a combative Butkiewicz into custody. Butkiewicz
was committed to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, but was later released
after posting $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
In the 2003 case, Butkiewicz also offered the victim a ride. As the two drove,
Butkiewicz put his hand on the boys shoulder and rubbed his back. After
that, Butkiewicz unbuttoned the teenagers jeans and began to fondle him.
Butkiewicz told police the boy unbuttoned his own pants and that he grabbed the
boys genitals on impulse.
The victim subsequently filed
a lawsuit against Butkiewicz claiming he developed emotional problems that requied
Court records show the parties settled for $10,000.
with school district
Butkiewicz, who taught six grade, surrendered his teaching
license in 2004.
Years earlier, his clash with the school district over his
suspension drew significant attention when a school board member accused Butkiewicz
of improper conduct in the classroom.
The controversy exploded in 1998 when
then-School Board member Terry Ziolkowski announced that his niece, a student
of Butkiewiczs, heard the teacher use a racial epithet in class. Ziolkowski
also claimed Butkiewicz tugged on students underwear and showed a movie
featuring a topless woman in class.
Butkiewicz argued in a lawsuit against
the district that he used the word in the context of a social studies lesson on
slavery, and that the movie was a history movie with a PG-13 rating. An arbitrator
ruled in 1999 that Butkiewicz should be reinstated and receive back pay and benefits
for the nearly 15-month suspension.
A federal judge threw out the lawsuit
in 2001, finding it had no merit.
Former Nanticoke mayor and teacher tried to lure children
Scinto - Citizens Voice
Police arrested Edward Butkiewicz, 76, a former
mayor and teacher at Nanticoke area schools, on Wednesday after children along
Rock Street in Glen Lyon reported he had, on multiple occasions, tried to lure
various children into his vehicle by offering them money.
A 13-year-old boy
first reported Butkiewicz on July 23, according to police. The boy told police
he was in the parking lot of an apartment complex when a silver car with a handicap
registration tag drove up to him. The driver, an older male later identified as
Butkiewicz, first asked the boy if there were any bars in the area.
said Butkiewicz then asked about his private area and if he could
see it and said he would do things to him that the boy called weird,
Butkiewicz offered the boy money to get in his car and go for
a ride and $3 to keep his secret, police said. When the boy refused, police said
Butkiewicz left and told the boy hed be back. The boy told his mother about
the incident and she called 911, police said.
Police were called back to Rock
Street on Wednesday for a report of the same man trying to lure children into
his car, this time in a burgundy SUV.
A 16-year-old boy told officers Butkiewicz
had also approached him on Sunday and Wednesday. The first time, Butkiewicz drove
up to him at the intersection of Rock and East Main streets and asked if he was
gay and wanted to make money. On Wednesday, the teen said Butkiewicz drove up
at the intersection of West Main and Market streets in Glen Lyon and asked him
and another 16-year-old male if they wanted to make money.
The teens told
police Butkiewicz followed them into the Rock Street apartment complex where they
called 911 and told the 13-year-old boy and his sister.
shouting for the 13-year-old, then grabbed one of the 16-year-olds by the arm,
Butkiewicz tried to leave the apartment complex but a juvenile
female and a man pulled their car in front of his, pretending it had broken down
to stall Butkiewicz until police arrived.
Butkiewicz admitted to being in
the neighborhood in a silver car on Sunday and admitted to giving the 13-year-old
boy money. He denied trying to lure the boy into his car, police said.
police cuffed Butkiewicz, he resisted and pushed back against the arresting officer,
cutting his hand.
Butkiewicz was charged with attempted luring, corruption
of minors, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and sent to Luzerne County
prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Butkiewicz, a retired elementary school teacher,
served two years of probation after he was arrested for indecent assault and corruption
of minors in 2003.
In that case, a former student of Butkiewiczs told
police he had pulled up to him in a white Jeep and asked him if he needed a ride.
The boy accepted because he thought Butkiewicz was a nice guy, police
The boy told police Butkiewicz touched his genitals while they drove
through Nanticoke and Hanover Twp.
Butkiewicz pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor
charge of indecent assault in the 2003 case and was sentenced to two years probation.
By that time, he had served 30 years as a teacher and served terms as a Nanticoke
City councilman and mayor.
Butkiewicz will appear for a preliminary hearing
on his recent charges on Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. before Magisterial District Judge Donald
Nanticoke convenience store robbed early Wednesday
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
Two men robbed the Cocoa Hut convenience store
on East Main Street early Wednesday morning, according to Nanticoke police.
The men walked into the store shortly after 1:30 a.m., police said. One of them
showed a gun and demanded money from a cashier. The men fled the store with about
$150 in cash and ran toward South Prospect Street, police said.
are described as white males in their 20s. One is between 5 feet 8 inches and
5 feet 10 inches tall and skinny. He wore a black hooded sweatshirt,
gray jogging pants and white sneakers. The other suspect is between 5 feet 6 inches
and 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a medium build. He wore a black Yankees
baseball cap, a long-sleeve gray shirt with black sleeves, blue cargo shorts and
brown/olive green sneakers.
Anyone with information
is asked to call Nanticoke police at 570-735-2200.
Police search for duo accused of weekend assault in Nanticoke
Sarah Scinto - Citizens Voice
A man and woman attacked another man at his
Nanticoke home, shooting him with a stun gun before firing a gun through his window,
according to police.
Nanticoke police are searching for two people suspected
in the shooting at 27 W. Field St. on Saturday, July 22, at approximately 6:09
p.m. Police said Darnell Corley and Brittany Maciolek attacked resident Marcus
Bradley after a fight at his home.
Bradley told police Maciolek his
former partner and another woman were at his apartment when Maciolek confronted
him about sleeping with the other woman. Bradley said Maciolek became combative
and punched him in the arm multiple times. She left with the other woman and said
she would have Bradley killed, police said.
A few hours later, Bradley heard
a knock at his apartment door, police said. When he went to open the door, he
heard a side bedroom window opening and investigated the sound. Bradley told police
he saw Maciolek at the window with Corley next to her.
Maciolek fired at Bradley
with a stun gun through the open window, police said. Bradley said Corley then
raised a handgun towards him and fired four shots through the open window.
Bradley said Maciolek and Corley fled after firing the gun.
Maciolek and Corley with aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment
and related counts; and have requested the publics assistance in locating
Anyone with information can contact
Nanticoke police at 570-735-2200 or call 911.
man faces child porn charges
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A city man accused twice before of sexually abusing children was charged
Friday with 20 felony counts related to possessing child pornography.
S. Montanez, 30, of 209 W. Church St., was charged after his mother found images
on his cellphone of children as young 1 or 2 being sexually abused, according
to Luzerne County detectives.
The charges come as Montanez is awaiting trial
on charges alleging he sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl repeatedly over a
While he was in custody at the Luzerne County Correctional
Facility, Montanez gave his mother the pass code to unlock his cellphone so she
could contact his friends and ask them to visit him.
While his mother was
going through the phone, she came across images of naked girls as young as about
2 years old, according to a police affidavit filed in court. She told police she
felt like she was betraying her son but that it was the right thing to do, police
A subsequent search of the phone turned up numerous images of girls
who were in sexually suggestive positions, police said.
Montanez insisted he knew nothing about the images, claiming he had been in jail
for the past five months.
Magisterial District Judge Thomas F. Malloy Sr.
arraigned Montanez on Friday afternoon and ordered him held on $150,000 bail with
a preliminary hearing set for July 26.
The bail is in addition to the $150,000
bail Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough set in February when prosecutors alleged
Montanez violated his conditions of release in the sex abuse case by coming into
contact with children, according to court records.
In the sex abuse case,
Montanez is awaiting trial on involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child
and related charges following his arrest in November 2014. Court records indicate
the trial has been on hold because of an appeal to the Superior Court challenging
Voughs decision to allow the case to move forward based on hearsay testimony
without corroborating evidence.
In a ruling in February, the judge wrote he
based his decision on case law that establishes prosecutors are permitted to use
hearsay evidence at a preliminary hearing.
In a separate case, U.S. Marshals
arrested Montanez in Nanticoke in April 2015 on charges alleging he sexually abused
a child in Alabama.
Police say Montanez later pleaded to charges related to
that case, although details about his sentence were not immediately available.
Nanticoke man already facing molestation
charges accused of possessing child porn
James Halpin - Citizens
A city man accused twice before of sexually abusing children was
charged Friday with 20 felony counts related to possessing child pornography.
Jayson S. Montanez, 30, is accused of possessing child pornography last September.
Magisterial District Judge Thomas F. Malloy Sr. is scheduled to arraign him Friday
Court records show Montanez is still awaiting trial on involuntary
deviate sexual intercourse with a child and related charges following his arrest
in November 2014. In that case, he is accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old
girl repeatedly over a two-year period.
He has been free on $100,000 unsecured
bail set by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker. Court records indicate
the trial has been delayed because of an appeal to the Superior Court challenging
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Voughs decision to allow the case to move
forward based on hearsay testimony without corroborating evidence.
In a ruling
in February, the judge wrote he based his decision on case law that establishes
prosecutors are permitted to use hearsay evidence at a preliminary hearing.
In a separate case, U.S. Marshals arrested Montanez in Nanticoke in April 2015
on charges alleging he sexually abused a child in Alabama. Montanez later pleaded
to charges related to that case, although his sentence was not immediately available.
Shock, anger after Nanticoke COs
killer gets life
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
judge read the verdict, gasps came from family and friends of slain Correctional
Officer Eric Williams.
A fellow correctional officer standing in the gallery
to hear the verdict collapsed into his seat, looking ahead in disbelief.
Con-ui, the gang assassin who brutally murdered Williams, a 34-year-old Nanticoke
native, will not be put to death for the crime.
The same jury that last month
convicted the 40-year-old, two-time killer on Monday split on imposing the death
penalty, resulting in a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
Afterward, the father of Williams expressed outrage at the verdict.
leaves me shocked, Don Williams said on the courthouse steps. It leaves
me angry. This man was already doing life. He committed a hideous murder on my
son and they gave him life again. You know what they did to him for doing what
he did to my boy? They did nothing. They did absolutely nothing.
a message posted to Facebook later Monday night, Don Williams wrote that the vote
was 11-1 in favor of the death penalty, with one woman saying she couldn't sentence
someone to death despite her pledge to consider it as an option.
she feels like she took the moral high road, Don Williams wrote. The
problem is that people don't consider the bigger picture. This was not just a
painful day for the Williams family, it was a dark day indeed for the whole of
the corrections world.
Federal prosecutors declined to comment after
the verdict, saying they intended to issue a prepared statement today.
defense also had little to say, with Montclair, New Jersey-based attorney David
A. Ruhnke saying the defense was grateful for the verdict, but that
it speaks for itself.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Williams
family, said attorney Mark F. Fleming, of Encinitas, California.
was on trial for his life for brutally slashing and stomping Williams, 34, at
U.S. Penitentiary Canaan on Feb. 25, 2013. Williams was stabbed more than 200
times with two shanks and had his skull fractured in an attack that left him unrecognizable
because Con-ui felt disrespected over an earlier cell search, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors argued the brutality of the attack, as well as Con-uis violent
past, warranted the death penalty. Con-ui, a member of the New Mexican Mafia,
is already serving life in prison for executing a gang member in Phoenix in 2002.
At the time of Williams murder, he was also serving an 11-year sentence
for trafficking 33 pounds of cocaine.
During his time in prison, Con-ui has
threatened correctional officers and attacked other inmates, according to prosecutors.
The defense countered that jurors should have mercy on Con-ui, parading a series
of his family members including his young sons to show the impact
his death would have on his loved ones.
Defense attorneys also argued Con-ui
has already been punished for the crime. Since the murder, Con-ui has been held
in isolation at a super-maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, and can
expect to have minimal contact with his family for the rest of his life, they
The jury, which deliberated about five hours before deadlocking on
Con-uis penalty, also heard from Con-ui himself late last month. The killer,
who was mostly impassive in the jurys presence, apologized for his conduct
and said he couldnt give jurors a good explanation for his savage attack.
Don Williams said he didnt buy it.
I dont believe one thing
he has to say, period, he said. Of course he knows why he did it.
Hes the most calculating individual youre going to run into.
Darrell Palmer, northeast regional vice president for the prison union, Council
of Prison Locals C-33, said he was concerned that the jurys verdict would
allow Con-ui to one day be removed from isolation and allow him to attack someone
How could we allow this, for someone to take (those) actions against
law enforcement and basically do nothing? Palmer said. This is like
they put a target on our back. Its OK to kill a federal correctional officer.
Its OK to do anything possible, but when it comes to justice for us
for my brothers and sisters nothings being done.
and Don Williams both expressed an interest in continuing to improve correctional
officer safety because of the murder. Already, the death has led to the Eric Williams
Correctional Officer Protection Act, allowing thousands of federal prison workers
to be armed with pepper spray.
Other changes implemented since the stabbing
include the addition of a second officer in housing units Williams was
working alone in a unit housing approximately 130 inmates when he was killed
and equipping employees with stab-resistant vests.
In a statement released
in response to the verdict, Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Twp., described the
murder as a call to action.
No matter what the jury decided
today, it could not give Eric Williams back to his parents, Donald and Jean, or
his entire family and friends, Yudichak said. Erics senseless
murder will always be a call to action and a reminder that we must do everything
possible to ensure that those who walk the toughest blocks in the criminal justice
system are protected from obvious dangers inside of our prisons. We honor Erics
life and sacrifice by ensuring that this never happens again.
Jury spares Jessie Con-uis life for federal prison
of an inmate who brutally murdered a federal corrections officer was spared by
a jury Monday in a decision that left the victims father searching for answers
and a prison official fearful the outcome would put other guards lives at
Stunned sighs erupted from Eric Williams loved ones after the
jury reported it could not agree on whether Jessie Con-ui, 40, deserved to die
for murdering Williams, 34, of Nanticoke, at Canaan federal prison in 2013. The
verdict results in an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility
Upon learning he was destined to die behind prison walls for the
crime, Con-ui did not appear to react.
Outside the courthouse, a visibly shaken
Don Williams was critical of the jury who he said did absolutely nothing
for his slain son.
It leaves me shocked. It leaves me angry, Williams
said of the decision. This man was already doing life. He committed a hideous
murder on my son, and they gave him life again.
He continued: Do you
know what they did for him for what he did to my boy? They did absolutely nothing.
More worrisome, one prison union official said, was the impact the sentence would
have on the safety of other guards.
This is like they put a target on
our backs, said Darrell Palmer, Northeast Regional Vice President for the
Council of Prison Locals. Its OK to kill federal corrections officers.
Its OK to do anything possible. But when it comes to justice for us, nothing
is being done.
The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for
more than five hours. Many approached after the verdict declined to comment.
Initially announced as unanimous, the jurys decision was later revealed
to have been incorrectly read by U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo, who called
the jury back to the courtroom about a half hour after the verdict to explain
the error. He flatly denied prosecutors request to poll the panel on their
The jury, seated June 2 after a selection process that began in
late April, heard weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses in addition to impassioned
arguments from attorneys pitching their cases for life and death.
But in the
end, the eight women and four men who on June 7 found Con-ui guilty of the murder
could not agree whether he deserved to die for it.
Con-uis defense team
said the verdict spoke for itself. They said they declined further comment out
of respect for Williams family.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, abruptly called
off a news conference they had scheduled for after the verdict. A spokesperson
for the U.S. Department of Justice said there would be no comment Monday, and
that a news release would be issued Tuesday.
prosecutors argued the brutality of the crime and lasting impact it will have
on Williams loved ones coupled with Con-uis violent past
made a death sentence not only warranted, but justified.
Con-ui was sentenced
to life in prison for a 2002 gang-related murder in Arizona. Before that, he received
an 11-year sentence for a cocaine trafficking conspiracy. In the late 1990s, he
served about five years for stealing cars, prosecutors said.
bars, Con-ui continued to display a penchant for violence. He stabbed an inmate,
beat another with a metal food tray, and threatened to kill a guard, according
to prosecutors. Other acts of violence he planned were thwarted before he could
carry them out, prosecutors said.
Con-uis court-appointed defense team
argued he was a product of poverty, domestic violence and a flawed prison system
that left him ill-equipped to rejoin the population as a productive member of
They did not call any witnesses during the trials guilt phase,
in fact admitting in openings he was guilty of Williams murder beyond
all doubt. But in the penalty phase, they focused largely on Con-uis
stepfather, who they said would sometimes lock Con-ui out of his home and force
him to sleep in cars.
Con-ui, a native of the Philippines whose family immigrated
to the U.S. in the late 1980s, once showed promise but turned to hard drugs, alcohol,
and crime in his late teens and eventually landed in juvenile prison, his attorneys
He served time for stealing cars and later became involved in a fatal
shooting for the New Mexican Mafia gang in 2002. He was set to return to Arizona
to begin serving a life sentence for the murder in September 2013, about seven
months after he killed Williams.
Fight to continue
In a short statement
from the defense table, Con-ui apologized for the suffering he caused Williams
loved ones. He said he wishes he could take back the murder a killing he
could not explain.
The statement contradicted Con-uis own words from
shortly after the murder in which he told Williams coworkers he killed the
guard because he felt disrespected.
A former Canaan inmate present during
Williams murder previously told the Times Leader he believes Con-ui killed
the guard because he preferred the confines of federal prison to that of Arizonas
state system, which is regarded as a tougher place to do time.
acknowledged his fight for justice for his son hit a roadblock, but he plans to
Were going to continue our fight for justice and safety
for corrections people, I think even now with more resolve, he said.
Con-ui quickly found guilty
- Citizens Voice
The courtroom doors opened and the family of slain Correctional
Officer Eric Williams walked out, exchanging hugs and handshakes with a large
contingent of his former co-workers.
After more than four years of waiting,
his accused killer was accused no longer.
It took a federal jury just about
a half-hour Wednesday morning to find Jessie Con-ui, 40, guilty of first-degree
murder, murdering a correctional officer and possessing contraband in prison.
As the verdict was read in court, Con-ui a New Mexican Mafia assassin already
serving 25 years to life in prison for executing a gang member in Phoenix in 2002
sat looking forward impassively.
U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo
sent the jury home with instructions to return June 19 to begin hearing the evidence
they will rely upon to determine whether Con-ui should live out his days in federal
prison or die for the crime.
Attorneys on both sides declined to comment on
the verdict, and the Williams family deferred discussing the case until after
the jurys final word comes down.
After less than two days of testimony,
jurors unanimously agreed Con-ui was responsible for murdering Williams, a 34-year-old
Nanticoke native who died during a brutal attack at U.S. Penitentiary at Canaan
on Feb. 25, 2013.
Its been four years since the defendant brutally
and viciously murdered Correctional Officer Eric Williams, Assistant U.S.
Attorney Francis P. Sempa told jurors during closing arguments Wednesday morning.
Justice has been delayed. It must not be denied.
The choice was
easy for the jury: Con-uis defense explicitly told the jury he did it.
Jessie Con-ui killed Eric Williams, a correctional officer just doing his
job. He did so without excuse or justification, Stroudsburg attorney James
A. Swetz told jurors during the defense closing. There is no doubt that
Jessie Con-ui is guilty.
Prosecutors alleged Con-ui felt disrespected
because of a cell search earlier that night in which another officer removed some
minor contraband, including homemade speakers made from altered headphones and
cardboard. In response, Con-ui kicked Williams down a flight of stairs before
laying into him with two shanks. He stabbed and hit Williams more than 200 times
in addition to stomping and slamming the officers head on the ground.
According to prosecutors, about an hour and a half after the cell search, as Williams
was preparing to lock down the cell block for the night, Con-ui stood waiting
and watching at the top a staircase until the officer ascended.
came to the top of the stairs, Con-ui casually walked up and then delivered a
surprise kick to the face, sending the officer tumbling backwards down the flight
of stairs, according to video of the attack played in court. Williams desperately
ran to escape as Con-ui chased him down, continuing the attack long after his
body went limp in a pool of blood.
During the attack, Con-ui cut his hand
on one of the shanks and paused to wrap it in his shirt to continue the assault.
Later, he washed the wound in a shower before returning to the dying officer and
resuming the attack.
When it was over, Con-ui sat at a game table, kicking
a foot up and sipping a drink as he chewed gum he stole from the dying officers
When fellow officers realized what had happened, they tracked a trail
of blood to Con-uis cell, where they found him holding a shank and saying
he attacked Williams because of a disrespect issue.
case lasted less than two days, hinging in large part on the video that caused
jurors to wince and tear up, as well as on statements Con-ui allegedly made to
a number of correctional officers admitting he was to blame. The parties stipulated
that Con-uis clothing was covered in Williams blood and that Con-uis
fingerprint was also found on Williams radio, which the killer threw at Williams
head twice during the attack. Con-uis fingerprint was also on one of the
shanks that was sharply bent during the attack.
Sempa noted that video of
the 11-minute attack showed Con-ui raising his hand up to apply maximum force
with the weapons.
The force was so strong when it hit Eric Williams
body, when it hit his bones, when it hit his skull, it bent, Sempa said.
There is no doubt Con-ui intended to kill Williams, he told the jury. The video
shows Con-ui lying in wait to spring the trap and throwing Williams radio
his lifeline to the side as he continually stomps, slams
and stabs the officer, he said.
While his attorneys chose not to challenge
Con-uis guilt in the case, they are preparing to mount a defense aimed at
preventing him from getting the death penalty. Swetz noted during his closing
that there is more to the case than what jurors have already heard.
Con-uis attorneys have previously alleged a pattern of mistreatment of prisoners
by federal Bureau of Prisons officers. Con-ui, they maintain, was generally a
well-behaved inmate who snapped because outrageous conduct by correctional
officers, including officers shredding their property, leaving open cans of tuna
fish to rot behind the walls and beating inmates out of view of security cameras.
Prosecutors counter that far from being a respectful prisoner, Con-ui has a history
of dozens of disciplinary actions ranging from refusing orders to stabbing another
inmate, beating another inmate with a metal food tray and threatening a correctional
officer who had just searched his cell.
in Nanticoke murder will stand trial
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
The girlfriend of accused killer Antoine McNeal testified Friday that she
drove him to the scene of the crime shortly before the slaying so he could buy
Wakeelah Moore, 26, of Wilkes-Barre, said her on-again, off-again,
married boyfriend, Antoine McNeal, had been texting someone as she drove him to
West Church Street early on the morning of Jan. 18 so he could buy marijuana.
After she parked along the side of the road, McNeal got out to meet someone while
Moore waited in the car, she said. Within two or three minutes, McNeal came running
back and jumped in the car, she said.
He just said, They were
shooting, said Moore, who denied hearing the shots or knowing to whom
McNeal was referring.
Moore testified that she drove off, but that McNeal
then discovered he dropped his cellphone. She circled back, but after a quick
search they were unable to find it and left without it, she said.
33, of Wilkes-Barre, is awaiting trial on charges of criminal homicide, illegal
possession of a gun, criminal use of a cellphone and tampering with evidence in
the slaying of 20-year-old Brandon Smith, who was shot twice in the chest outside
his family home on West Church Street.
Family members reported Smith had been
texting someone on a flip phone around 1:40 a.m. that morning and that about 2
a.m., he had gone outside to meet someone, Trooper Edward Urban testified.
He returned, running into the residence stating he had been shot,
Surveillance video taken from a nearby home showed a vehicle
driving up and pulling over, followed by a person approaching the house, he said.
Someone else came out of the house and both people went to a van that was parked
in front of the home, he said
You dont see anything happen for
a short period of time, and then you see a flash in the area of the van,
Urban said, adding that Smith then ran back inside the house.
A search of
the property revealed marijuana and blood inside the van as well as several cellphones,
he said. After consulting Smiths family, investigators quickly discovered
something didnt add up.
We realized there was one extra phone
inside the van, Urban said.
Police traced the phone to McNeal, and discovered
text messages showing the men had been discussing McNeal buying a quarter pound
of marijuana from Smith the day of the shooting, he said. Smith, however, said
all he had at the time was two ounces but that he could get more the next day,
They agreed to meet at Smiths place and the text exchanges
ended shortly before the murder took place, he said.
One of McNeals
attorneys, John Donovan, argued the case should not move forward because prosecutors
had not met their burden
Mere presence is not enough in this case. He
was not seen with a gun, Donovan said. There are no eyewitnesses.
Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker, however, bound all charges over
After the shooting, McNeal remained on the lam for several months.
Police captured him in Wilkes-Barre in April, and he has been held at the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility without bail since his arrest.
Moore is also
awaiting trial on a charge of hindering the prosecution for allegedly harboring
McNeal while he was wanted on the murder charge. She is free on $75,000 unsecured
bail with a formal arraignment set for June 29.
police secure grant for drug collection
the help of a program offered by CVS Pharmacy, Nanticoke police will be able to
provide a safe place to dispose of medication.
In a Thursday press release,
state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-119, Newport Twp., announced the Nanticoke Police
Department received a grant for a drug collection unit through the CVS Health
Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program.
The unit will be located
in the lobby of the Nanticoke municipal building and provide "a safe and
environmentally responsible way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired medication,
including controlled substances ... with no questions asked," according to
The site will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through
NY fugitive caught in
Sarah Scinto - Citizens Voice
located a fugitive on the run from the New York Police Department in the attic
of an East Church Street residence.
Police said Nanticoke officers and members
of the NYPD fugitive task force found Amair Bland, 20, of New York City, in the
attic of 365 E. Church St. around 7 a.m. on Wednesday.
Bland was a fugitive
wanted on weapons and drug violations, police said.
He was arraigned before
Magisterial District Judge Michael Dotzel and remanded to Luzerne County Correctional
Facility pending extradition to New York.
duo heading to county court on drug charges
Despite their attorneys being critical of evidence in the case, a Nanticoke
duo is heading to county court on charges stemming from the discovery of drugs
and cash at their residence after one of them was shot in December.
Powell, 30, and Courtney Padden, 27, appeared before District Judge Thomas Malloy
for a hearing Wednesday. Police refiled the charges against Powell and Padden
in March after the initial cases were tossed out due to legal challenges.
Malloy ended up sending Powell and Paddens drug charges to higher court.
Members of the Luzerne County Drug Task Force, along with police from Nanticoke
and Newport Township, executed a search warrant at Powells East Spring Street
residence at approximately 9:45 a.m. Dec. 9, according to a criminal complaint.
Neither Powell nor girlfriend Padden were at the home when the search occurred.
The warrant was executed the day after a shooting on the street outside the residence.
Powell was the victim of that shooting. More than five months later, a suspect
has not been named in that incident.
During the search, multiple items of
contraband were seized, including large bags of suspected marijuana well
beyond what would be held for personal use, authorities stated. Cannabis
liquid, digital scales and a bag of THC candy was also taken from the residence.
THC is the active ingredient found in marijuana. A total of $12,950 in cash was
recovered, which investigators believe is proceeds from drug sales.
Joseph Guydosh testified that all of the suspected drugs were taken to the State
Police crime lab for analysis.
But Paddens attorney, Peter Moses, pointed
out that no field testing was done at the scene.
Moses also argued that only
a small amount of marijuana, and no paraphernalia, was found in his clients
There is nothing to indicate in this case that Courtney Padden
was selling drugs, he said.
Meanwhile, Powells defense lawyer,
Joseph Sklarosky, argued that Det. Guydosh failed to establish other evidence
in his case.
Both Moses and Sklarosky were optimistic as the cases moved to
the county level.
Were very confident moving forward, Moses
said. I dont think we can back down on this case. I think its
pretty clear that the commonwealth has really overstepped their grounds here.
Powell and Padden are scheduled for formal arraignments at 10 a.m. Aug. 3 in the
Luzerne County Courthouse. They are each free on their own recognizance.
Nanticoke man charged after allegedly shooting at another
A man is facing charges after
police say he shot at another man during an argument.
Police said officers
were dispatched to a reported shooting on Scott Street at 2:31 a.m. Monday. Upon
arrival, a 30-year-old man reported to officers that he was arguing with Jeremy
Battle, 27, of Nanticoke.
During the argument, Battle shot at the man but
missed, according to police. No injuries were reported.
Battle was taken into
custody without incident, and he faces charges of aggravated assault and recklessly
endangering another person.
arms dealer contests latest charges involving Russia export violations
A Nanticoke arms dealer previously imprisoned
for conspiring to export military equipment to Russia contested Friday a new set
of federal charges alleging he again tried to send two riflescopes to an individual
in Russia last year.
Mark Komoroski, former manager of D&R Sports Center
on 620 Fairchild St., pleaded not guilty to violating federal export laws and
unlawfully possessing ammunition as a previously convicted felon at a hearing
Thursday. He was released pending his next court appearance.
tried to export two riflescopes to an individual in Russia in February and March
2016 without obtaining licenses required by federal law, the charges say. He was
also allegedly in possession of more than 25,000 rounds of ammunition.
store was raided weeks later by federal customs agents and state law enforcement
personnel, many of whom carried out bags of ammunition and boxes marked evidence.
Komoroski challenged the latest charges Friday, saying D&R was authorized
to store and sell ammunition following his release from federal prison in 2012
on similar charges. He said he was also permitted to sell riflescopes on eBay
and other online sites, and noted the hundreds sold since his release shipped
only within the U.S.
How they got (to Russia), I dont have any
idea, he said.
His attorney, Al Flora Jr., did not immediately return
a message seeking comment.
The latest charges arent the first of their
kind leveled against Komoroski.
In 2010, he was sentenced to 32 months in
federal prison for conspiring to illegally smuggle military equipment to Russia,
including firearm magazines and rifle scopes. He was released in December 2012.
The latest charges carry a maximum of 30 years in prison.
managed the Nanticoke location while his brother, Theodore Komoroski, oversaw
a second location in Bloomsburg that has since closed. Records show ownership
of the Nanticoke storefront was transferred from Komoroskis father, Donald
Komoroski, to Komoroski Realty in 2005.
Komoroskis co-defendant, Russian
national Sergey Korznikov, was sentenced to six months in prison for his role
in the conspiracy. Korznikov was involved with Tactica Ltd., a Moscow-based company
that sells rifle optics, binoculars, boots, backpacks and other hunting and paramilitary
A search warrant affidavit filed in 2006 said authorities believed
Komoroski had illegally exported hundreds of thousands of dollars of military
equipment over a several-year period.
According to court records, officials
discovered a $68,428 purchase order for thermal-imaging devices from a Moscow,
Russia-based company that listed Korznikov as its president.
going into the business account were identified as coming from Rockman EOOD
and Ibrahim Hajji, both deemed excluded parties by the Office of Foreign Assets
Control, which enforces trade sanctions.
Rockman was owned by Sergey Bout,
brother of Russian arms dealer and former KGB major Viktor Bout, who provided
weapons to Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, rebel groups in Rwanda and the Taliban,
according to court documents.
weapons dealer hit with federal indictment
James Halpin - Citizens
For the second time, a city resident is accused of breaking federal
laws by shipping weapons equipment overseas.
A federal grand jury indicted
Mark Komoroski, 54, this week on charges that he violated federal export laws
and illegally possessed ammunition as a convicted felon.
allege that in February and March of 2016, Komoroski tried to export two rifle
scopes to someone in Russia without having the licenses required under federal
law. Komoroski, who owns D&R Sports Center at 620 Fairchild St., is a convicted
felon who was found to be in possession of more than 25,000 rounds of ammunition,
If convicted, Komoroski faces up to 30 years in prison for
During an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline
Mehalchick on Thursday, Komoroski pleaded not guilty to the crimes. The judge
allowed him to be released pending trial.
The charges stem from a May 2016
raid in which federal agents descended on the business Komoroski owns along with
his brother and father a business that was previously implicated in the
illegal sale of restricted weapons overseas to buyers with connections to drug
trafficking, espionage and terrorism.
Ten years earlier, in November 2006,
agents raided the business amid allegations that it illegally sold and shipped
$247,854 of restricted items rifles and related devices such as optics
to Russia, Kuwait, Germany and Japan without required export licenses.
Court documents filed in that case alleged money transfers to D&R for some
purchases linked the store with companies and individuals that the United
States government has determined pose an unacceptable risk of being involved with
or providing ... support to international narcotics trafficking, crimes against
humanity/war crimes and/or terrorism.
Among them was Russian gun runner
Viktor Bout, who helped provide weapons to Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, rebel
groups in Rwanda, and the Taliban, according to court documents.
was charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government along with his business;
and longtime customer Sergey Korznikov and his business, Tactica Ltd. a
Moscow-based business affiliated with an elite counterterrorism unit controlled
by the Russian Federal Security Service, formerly known as the KGB.
pleaded guilty to the charge, with Komoroski being sentenced in July 2010 to 32
months in prison and Korznikov getting six months in prison. The charges against
the businesses were dismissed.
Following that incident, D&R lost its firearms
license, but remained open selling other items. The store remains open for business.
Case moving forward after controversial
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A city man
who nearly walked away with a sentence of time served for choking his ex-girlfriend
in front of her young son, lost an appeal Tuesday that sought to reinstate an
unauthorized plea deal that cut him a big break.
Joseph Michael Noss, 38,
faces charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, simple assault and harassment
for allegedly attacking his ex-girlfriend at a home on Loomis Street the afternoon
of July 15, 2015. Prosecutors allege Noss choked her by hand before wrapping the
wire to a video game controller around her neck and threatening to killer her.
When police arrived, Noss took off running and had to be pepper sprayed into submission,
according to prosecutors.
The ruling Tuesday allows the case to move forward
nearly two years after it began.
"I'm glad we'll finally have an opportunity
to prosecute a very serious case of domestic violence," Assistant District
Attorney Cara Solimine said in response to the opinion.
According to court
records, the case derailed after Noss and his attorney, Assistant Public Defender
John Donovan, arrived early for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 2, 2015, and told
Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker they had reached a deal calling
for Noss to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct in exchange
for a sentence of time served.
Whittaker asked an arresting officer if she
agreed, and Officer Kara Kroll - who at the time had only been on the force about
two months - indicated she did. There was no discussion about whether prosecutors
had signed off on the deal before Whittaker accepted the agreement, according
to the documents.
When Solimine arrived for the hearing at the scheduled start
time about a half hour later, she was informed the case had been resolved. Prosecutors
subsequently filed a petition to vacate the plea, which Luzerne County Judge Tina
Polachek Gartley granted.
Noss appealed that ruling, arguing Gartley improperly
vacated his plea.
In their ruling Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the state
Superior Court rejected Noss' claims, noting that magistrates can dispose of certain
misdemeanor cases, but not in cases where the misdemeanor is the result of a reduced
charge. Prosecutors did not initially charge Noss with disorderly conduct, and
because it was a reduced charge Whittaker did not have jurisdiction to accept
the plea, the judges ruled.
The judges also rejected Noss' claim that Kroll
was a "designee of the commonwealth," noting that Solimine had previously
appeared in the case.
"Solimine was clearly the attorney for the commonwealth
on this case, and there is no evidence that she authorized Officer Kroll to withdraw
charges as her designee," the judges wrote. "Thus, Officer Kroll was
not a designee of the commonwealth."
Court records show prosecutors refiled
the charges against Noss in January 2016 - a case that has been on hold pending
the result of his appeal.
In the meantime, Noss pleaded guilty in March 2016
to a count of simple assault after police alleged he pulled the hair of Tracy
Ann Butka - identified in court documents as his "paramour" - as well
as put a lit cigarette on her cheek and slapped her during an argument in May
Gartley sentenced him in that case to four to eight months in the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility followed by a year of probation.
he has since been released from custody and remains free on $50,000 bond he posted
in September in the pending assault case.
accused of aiding suspect waives
Sarah Scinto - Citizens Voice
A woman accused of hindering the apprehension of a homicide suspect waived
a preliminary hearing on Thursday.
Wakeelah Moore, 26, of Wilkes-Barre, faces
charges of hindering apprehension after police said she harbored her boyfriend,
Antoine McNeal, while he had an active warrant for his arrest in the homicide
of Brandon Smith.
McNeal is accused of shooting and killing the 20-year-old
Smith outside Smiths family home on West Church Street in Nanticoke in January.
Police said Moore allowed McNeal to stay at her home at 320 E. Northampton St.
for two days before police arrived to arrest him on April 19.
Moore initially told police McNeal was not inside her house. She only allowed
officers inside after they confirmed they had a warrant, according to a criminal
At a scheduled preliminary hearing before Magisterial District
Judge Thomas Malloy, Moore waived a charge of hindering apprehension forward to
county court. The prosecution withdrew several drug charges related to a police
search of Moores apartment during McNeals arrest.
A formal arraignment
was scheduled for June 29 at 10 a.m. at the Luzerne County Courthouse.
Assault charges dismissed against man involved in fatal
Sarah Scinto - Citizens Voice
against a man involved in a fatal 2013 crash were dismissed on Wednesday after
the alleged victim declined to testify.
Tyler Duda, 20, will no longer face
charges alleging he threatened his ex-girlfriend, Kaylee Grodzick,i with a knife,
cut her finger and slashed the tires of a vehicle belonging to Imarl Daron Lee
Grodzicki declined to testify at Duda's preliminary hearing Wednesday
before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker. The judge dismissed the charges
Duda previously served time on juvenile vehicular homicide charges
stemming from a fatal crash in July 2013. Duda, 16 at the time, admitted to taking
his mothers car for a joyride and crashing into 59-year-old Nickolas Zurilla
at 72 mph on a residential Nanticoke street, severing the mans legs and
torso before crashing into a house 467 feet from where Zurilla had been crossing
Police secure warrant for alleged school computer thief
Nanticoke police have secured a warrant
for Enrique Bacilio, 19, for allegedly stealing more than $30,000 worth of computers
from Greater Nanticoke Area High School in June 2016.
Nanticoke police have
secured an arrest warrant for a 19-year-old man accused of stealing computers
valued at $33,174 from Greater Nanticoke Area High School in a June 2016 burglary,
according to a police news release.
Enrique Bacilio, 19, is the suspect, and
his last known address is 160 Midland Ct., Wilkes-Barre, police said. The burglary
occurred between June 22 and June 23, 2016.
Bacilio is also wanted by the
Luzerne County Sheriffs Department for failing to appear in court relative
to a May 2016 arrest in Nanticoke for simple assault, police said.
2016, police reported someone broke into two classrooms on the west side of the
high school by breaking a classroom window and took 30 laptop computers from each
classroom, as well as one desktop computer. The laptop computers were HP
Probook 440 G1 Notebook units. Officers also recovered evidence left at
the crime scene, including an article of clothing and a pair of copper pliers.
Bacilio has lived in Texas, New York and Pennsylvania and may be in the Wilkes-Barre
area, police said. Anyone with information about Bacilios whereabouts is
asked to contact Nanticoke police at 570-735-2200 or the Luzerne County Sheriffs
Department by dialing 911.
Nanticoke homicide suspect from January found in W-B,
Man wanted for shooting in Nanticoke
Police have charged a Wilkes-Barre man with
what they believe was a drug-related murder in Nanticoke.
McNeal, 32, was taken into custody at 320 E. Northampton St. about noon Wednesday.
Wakeelah Nimat Moore lived at the East Northampton address where McNeal was located.
Moore was arrested herself for hindering apprehension and drug offenses.
is accused of shooting 20-year-old Brandon Smith outside of a residence at 185
W. Church St. in Nanticoke on Jan. 18.
Smith, who died of multiple gunshot
wounds, is believed to have known McNeal.
According to a criminal complaint:
Luzerne County 911 received a call around 2 a.m. Jan. 18 from Tina Letavish about
the shooting. Smith was pronounced dead at 3 a.m. at Geisinger Wyoming Valley
Letavish, the victim's mother, told police Smith was texting
on his flip phone on a couch near the front door when he went outside around 2
a.m. When he came back inside, he ran to the kitchen yelling "they shot me"
before falling to the floor.
Investigators examining the phone found a text
trail between Smith and an unknown number arranging what appeared to be a drug
Police later met with Jacqulynn Moore, of South Hancock Street, Wilkes-Barre,
who confirmed the unknown number belonged to her daughter, Wakeelah.
told police McNeal was her boyfriend and he was texting about receiving marijuana.
She said she and McNeal drove to Nanticoke the night of the murder. Wakeelah,
who was driving the car, parked on Fairchild Street. About two to three minutes
later, McNeal told her "we gotta get out of here, they are shooting."
Wakeelah said she owned a .38-caliber revolver, but misplaced the firearm.
Police determined Smith was actually shot inside Letavish's white Chrysler Town
and Country van.
U.S. Marshals, State Police, and Wilkes-Barre
City police were seen going in and out of the East Northampton residence before
bringing McNeal and Moore out in handcuffs.
Here's what authorities said happened
when they knocked on the door of Moore's apartment late Wednesday morning:
Moore initially denied she knew where McNeal was.
But when officers told her
there was an active warrant for him, she let them inside and they found McNeal
hiding behind a bedroom door.
Officers also found six marijuana plants in
the bedroom closet.
Moore later said McNeal called her Monday from a blocked
number asking to come to her residence. He was there from 10 p.m. Monday until
he was apprehended.
Moore also said the plants were hers but she was not selling
Due to the homicide charge, McNeal was locked up with no bail at
the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
His preliminary hearing is set for
1 p.m. April 26.
Moore was sent to Luzerne's lockup for lack of $75,000 bail.
She has a preliminary hearing 9 a.m. April 27 in front of District Judge Thomas
Malloy in Wilkes-Barre.
Court records show McNeal has a history of drug convictions.
In 2008, he was sentenced to 11 to 23 months for pleading guilty to a criminal
He received a 21- to 41-month state prison term in April
2015 on one count of delivery of heroin and two counts of providing false identification
to law enforcement. He was paroled May 5, 2016, records show.
Woman arrested with Antoine McNeal charged with hindering
A woman arrested
Wednesday with Antoine McNeal has been charged with hindering police and drug
Wakeelah Nimat Moore, of East Northampton Street, was arraigned
in front of District Judge Donald Whittaker.
McNeal, 32, was arraigned by
video earlier Wednesday on charges of criminal homicide and related counts. He
is accused of shooting 20-year-old Brandon Smith outside a residence at 185 W.
Church St. in Nanticoke on Jan. 18.
According to a criminal complaint:
Moore, 25, opened the door of her second-floor apartment at 11:25 a.m. Wednesday
for State Police, U.S. Marshals and Wilkes-Barre City police. The officers were
searching for McNeal.
When she was asked about McNeal's whereabouts, she told
police "he is not here."
But when officers told her there was an
active warrant for McNeal, she let them inside and they found McNeal hiding behind
a bedroom door.
Officers also found six marijuana plants in the bedroom closet.
Both Moore and McNeal were taken to state police barracks in Wyoming, where Moore
provided a statement.
She said McNeal called her Monday from a blocked number
asking to come to her residence. He was there from 10 p.m. Monday until he was
Moore also said the plants were hers but she was not selling
Moore was sent to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for
lack of $75,000 bail. She has a preliminary hearing 9 a.m. April 27 in front of
District Judge Thomas Malloy in Wilkes-Barre.
arrest suspect in Nanticoke homicide from January
Police have arrested
a city man in connection with a fatal shooting that happened in Nanticoke in January.
Antoine William McNeal, 32, was taken into custody from 320 East Northampton St.
shortly after noon Wednesday. He is accused of shooting 20-year-old Brandon Smith
outside of a residence at 185 West Church St. in Nanticoke on Jan. 18.
Marshals, Pennsylvania State Police, and Wilkes-Barre City Police Department officials
could be seen going in and out of the residence before bringing McNeal and a woman
out in handcuffs.
Smith, who died of multiple gunshot wounds, is believed
to have known McNeal prior to the shooting. Officials said they believe the homicide
Court records show McNeal has a history of drug convictions.
In 2008, he was sentenced to 11 to 23 months for pleading guilty to a criminal
He received a 21- to 41-month state prison sentence in
April 2015 from Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III on one count of delivery of heroin
and two counts of providing a false identification to a law enforcement officer.
He was paroled May 5, 2016, records show.
McNeal is expected to be arraigned
sometime today, Trooper Edward Urban said.
victims family questions leniency
James Halpin - Citizens
Nearly four years after Tyler Duda ran down a Marine Corps veteran
crossing the street, he made headlines again for another violent crime this week
and his first victims family still cant believe the leniency
he got last time.
I said from day one hes either going to harm
someone again or kill someone, said Nanticoke resident Diane Washik, the
sister of 59-year-old victim Nickolas Zurilla. They gave him a second chance,
and hes not even grateful for it.
As a 16-year-old boy, Duda was
charged as an adult with third-degree murder and faced up to 40 years in prison
for plowing into Zurilla as he crossed a residential street in Nanticoke in July
2013. Duda, who had taken his mothers car for a joyride, was doing 72 mph
and severed Zurillas legs and torso before crashing into a house 467 feet
This was a horrifying thing that happened to my brother,
Washik said. He was severed and everything, and theres no remorse
from this kid. Theres no remorse at all.
The possibility of Duda
seeing significant prison time disappeared after Luzerne County Judge Lesa S.
Gelb moved his case to juvenile court, saying Duda deserved a chance at rehabilitation
and didnt belong in a criminal setting.
Duda admitted guilt
to vehicular homicide charges and Luzerne County Juvenile Court Judge William
Amesbury sent him to the North Central Secure Treatment Unit, a juvenile detention
center on the grounds of Danville State Hospital in Montour County.
that time, Dudas science teacher, 47-year-old Melissa A. Brindisi, was accused
of having sex with him twice in a basement storage room, according to a report
in The Sunbury Daily Item. Court records show Brindisi was later acquitted at
trial on the charges.
Less than a year after being sent to the facility, Duda
had a home pass to check out a Williamsport college. Although supervisors described
Duda as passive-aggressive and doing whatever he could do to
annoy staff, probation officers said during a March 2015 hearing they had
no opposition to Duda getting acclimated back into the community.
Juvenile court records are secret, but Washik said she thought Duda ended up serving
about a year and a half for the crime.
Duda, now 20, faces charges for a violent
crime yet again in his young life following an incident Wednesday when he allegedly
pulled a knife, accusing Imarl Daron Lee Wimbush of sleeping with his ex-girlfriend,
Kaylee Grodzicki. Duda cut Grodzickis finger before slashing a tire on Wimbushs
car and pouring a beer into the vehicle in the Luzerne County Community College
parking lot, according to police.
After police filed assault and harassment
charges, Duda was released from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on Thursday
when his mother, Lori Ann Duda, posted $2,000 bail.
Lori Ann Duda did not
immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.
Washik said Friday she
was upset to hear about Dudas new charges and that she feels justice
hasnt been served from day one. She questioned why Gelb was not more
stern when dealing with Duda and said she thinks he should have gotten a much
I dont understand how this whole system could
work like this. ... I just dont understand how this kid is just walking
around like this, Washik said, saying she fears the system will again show
leniency to Duda. God forbid, I just hope somebody doesnt get killed
Gelb said Friday court rules prohibit her from commenting on
Man involved in fatal
crash facing assault charges
charged a man involved in a fatal 2013 crash with assault after he allegedly threatened
a woman with a knife.
Tyler Duda, 20, of Nanticoke faces charges of simple
assault and harassment after a domestic dispute in the Luzerne County Community
College parking lot on Wednesday, a criminal complaint states.
served time on juvenile vehicular homicide charges stemming from a fatal crash
in July 2013. Duda, 16 at the time, admitted to taking his mothers car for
a joyride and crashing into 59-year-old Nickolas Zurilla at 72 mph on a residential
Nanticoke street, severing the mans legs and torso before crashing into
a house 467 feet from where Zurilla had been crossing the street.
guilty to those charges, Duda spent time in a juvenile treatment facility in Danville.
Nanticoke police said Duda got into an argument with Imarl Daron Lee Wimbush and
Kaylee Grodzicki, Dudas ex-girlfriend. Duda accused Grodzicki of sleeping
with Wimbush, became irate and pulled out a knife, according to a
Grodzicki told police she pushed Duda away and he pushed
back, swinging the knife toward her. Dudas knife cut Grodzickis left
ring finger, police said.
The complaint states Duda then slashed the rear,
drivers side tire of Wimbushs car and poured a beer into the vehicle.
Wimbush and Grodzicki fled the area and called 911 from another location.
Police arrested Duda at his residence on Union Street. He was charged with simple
assault, harassment and disorderly conduct and arraigned Thursday morning before
Magisterial District Judge Joseph Halesey.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled
for April 26 at 1 p.m. before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
12 indicted on drug charges
- Citizens Voice
A federal grand jury indicted a dozen Luzerne County
residents on drug trafficking charges last month, according to the U.S. Department
The indictments were issued in federal court in Scranton on March
28 and unsealed this week, after the defendants had been arrested, the Justice
Department said in a news release.
The defendants face drug trafficking and
firearms offenses, the news release states.
Defendants identified by the Justice
Edirso De Leon Frias, 25, of Nanticoke.
Nathaniel Murphy, 41, of Wilkes-Barre.
Roy Seabrook, 43, of
Ruth Reyes-Maldonado, 32, of Wilkes-Barre.
Joel Contreras, 25, of Nanticoke.
Alhagie Samba, 49, of Wilkes-Barre.
Adrian Rivera, 40, of Wikes-Barre.
Jerrod Curtis, 33, of Wilkes-Barre.
Nelson Soto, 42, of Wilkes-Barre.
Juan Roman-Polanco, 31, of
Luis Enrique Martinez Ortiz, 25, of Wilkes-Barre.
Jose Ramon De Leon-Pineda, 33, of West Hazleton.
The defendants are charged
with conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to deliver cocaine
and heroin, the news release states.
De Leon Frias is also charged with
possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, while
Roman-Polanco is also charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon,
according to the Justice Department.
The indictments stemmed from a Justice
Department initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use
and distribution of heroin, the news release states.
agencies that participated in the investigation included state police, Wilkes-Barre
police and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
faces charges after drug bust in Nanticoke
Sarah Scinto - Citizens
Bomb squad members responded to a Nanticoke home on Wednesday after
police discovered two explosives while searching the home for drugs.
police and other departments searched 347 Hanover St., Apt. 5, around 4:10 p.m.
Wednesday. The resident, Brandon George Sirak, was arrested following the search.
Police found 150 bags of suspected heroin, drug paraphernalia and over $500 in
Sirak was charged with three counts of manufacturing, delivering or
possession of a controlled substance, intentional possession of a controlled substance
and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officers also found two explosive
devices and cordoned off the area for more than two hours while members of the
Scranton Bomb Squad removed them. Nanticoke Police Chief Thomas Wall said responding
officers found two cylindrical objects "about the size of an empty paper
towel roll," with fuses protruding from the ends.
Sirak was arraigned
on Thursday morning before Magisterial District Judge John Hasay. A preliminary
hearing was scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 12 before Magisterial District Judge
led to arrest of man wanted in Ohio
What was initially a criminal mischief investigation resulted in police
arresting a man wanted by authorities in Ohio.
Police said officers were conducting
the criminal mischief investigation at 6:55 p.m. Sunday at 27 Hill Street. Officers
encountered Luis Miguel Torres-Rodriguez, 21, and learned he had a warrant for
his arrest in Ohio for charges of kidnapping, felonious assault, aggravated menace,
Torres-Rodriguez was taken into custody without incident. Police
later discovered Torres-Rodriguez was allegedly using an alias.
was subsequently charged with false identification to law enforcement and being
a fugitive from justice. He was remanded to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility
for overnight arraignment.
Officers from Wilkes-Barre City Police Department
and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department in Ohio assisted.
West Nanticoke man gets up to 10 years for robbery
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A West Nanticoke man accused of robbing
a man during a comic book sale was sentenced Friday to serve up to 10 years in
Joshua Ruchinski, 27, was ordered to serve five to 10 years in prison
for robbery, as well as for a count of theft in a separate case. Luzerne County
Judge Michael T. Vough imposed the sentence, ordering Ruchinski to pay nearly
$1,500 in restitution. Prosecutors alleged Ruchinski pulled out a knife and demanded
money as he sat with a Shickshinny man in a car parked in front of a Slope Street
home where Ruchinski said the comic books were stored.
When the man resisted,
Ruchinski pulled out a gun and again demanded money, prosecutors said. The man
continued to resist, so Ruchinski grabbed the mans car keys and cellphone
and ran off, according to prosecutors. Vough ordered Ruchinski sent to state prison
as soon as possible.
duo arraigned on drug charges
Nanticoke police have refiled the case against Kenneth Edward Powell and Courtney
Claire Padden, attorneys say.
Powell, 30, and Padden, 26, had a preliminary
arraignment Wednesday on drug charges stemming from a search warrant following
a shooting on Dec. 8, of which Powell was the victim.
The pair previously
had a preliminary arrangement, but Padden's attorney, Peter Moses, said there
were motions made because the police department didn't have a prima facie case.
"The commonwealth decided to refile," Moses admitted.
to the criminal complaint:
Members of the Luzerne County Drug Task Force,
along with police from Nanticoke and Newport Township, executed a search warrant
for Powell's East Spring Street residence at approximately 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 9.
Neither Powell nor his girlfriend, Padden, were at the home when the search occurred.
Investigators allege that during the search, multiple items of contraband were
seized, including large bags of suspected marijuana "well beyond what would
be held for personal use." Cannabis liquid, digital scales and a bag of THC
candy was also taken from the resident. THC is the active ingredient found in
marijuana. A total of $12,950 in cash was recovered from the residence, which
investigators believed was attained through drug sales.
Court papers indicated
Powell and Padden were each arraigned before District Judge Donald Whittaker on
charges of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent; conspiracy to manufacture;
possession of a controlled substance; and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.
Moses said Padden was released on personal recognizance, and court papers indicate
Powell was released under the same conditions.
The duo will have a preliminary
hearing on at 1 p.m. March 29 at a district judge's office to be announced because
Whittaker has already heard the case and has rescued himself.
Efforts to reach
Powell's attorney, Joseph F. Sklarosky Sr., were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Woman accused of Nanticoke stabbing waives charges to
is accused of stabbing a man during a dispute over property in December.
however, claims the incident was a matter of self-defense.
Hanover Township, appeared for a preliminary hearing before District Judge Donald
Whittaker on Wednesday. Gantt-Brown, who identifies as a woman, waived her charges
of aggravated assault, simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.
Police were waved down around 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 29 by a group of individuals in
the area of South Prospect and East Ridge street, near the city municipal building.
Police said an an argument broke out between Brown and victim Jermail Stanley,
who tried to intervene in a scuffle over property near the fire department on
East Ridge Street. Brown allegedly charged at Stanley with a knife. Stanley retreated
backward but Brown charged again, allegedly stabbing Stanley, causing an injury.
Gantt-Brown told a reporter at her hearing Wednesday that she had several disputes
with four other people leading up to the incident. She claimed that at one point,
she was confronted by four people with knives as she attempted to remove her property
from a residence on West Ridge Street.
I feared for my life, she
Gantt-Brown said the people continued to harass her as she worked to
get the property out of the residence, and even had police officers at the nearby
municipal building watch as she got the property.
Gantt-Brown said thats
when four people two men and two woman charged after her, and she
defended herself with a pocket knife.
Fred Heller, a friend of Gantt-Browns,
said he tried to pick her up that night. He said that she told him at the time
that she was being threatened by people.
She was so hysterical and scared,
When police took Brown into custody, she began to struggle. Officers
were able to secure Brown against the patrol car until they attempted to put handcuffs
on her. Brown then fled down a ramp which lead into the police station. It was
there that officers were able to take her into custody.
Gantt-Brown is scheduled
for a formal arraignment in the Luzerne County Courthouse at 10 a.m. on June 1.
After hearing a brief argument from Gantt-Browns attorney Allyson Leigh
Kacmarski, Whittaker reduced Gantt-Browns bail to $25,000 unsecured.
Trio indicted on federal drug-trafficking
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Three Luzerne County
residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury on drug-trafficking charges.
Edirso De Leon Frias, 25, of Nanticoke; Nathaniel Murphy, 41; and Roy Seabrook,
43, both of Wilkes-Barre, are accused of conspiring to distribute heroin, according
to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
Prosecutors say De Leon Frias distributed
more than 100 grams of heroin, the equivalent of about 4,000 doses.
the defendants face up to 20 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
case, investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, was brought as
part of an initiative to combat a nationwide heroin epidemic, prosecutors said.
Police asking for help in identifying man allegedly using
Police described the
suspect as average height and weight with short hair, mustache and thin beard.
The male wore a blue shirt with a Superman logo and blue jeans
are asking for the publics help in identifying a man who used counterfeit
bills to purchase hair products.
According to police, around 5:40 p.m. Thursday,
a man purchased $29.75 worth of hair care products with a fake $100 bill at the
CVS Pharmacy on East Main Street.
The suspect is described as average height
and weight with short hair, mustache and thin beard. The male wore a blue shirt
with a Superman logo and blue jeans.
Police say he may have a tattoo that
can be observed on his lower right forearm.
Anyone with information is asked
to contact city police at 570-735-2200, extension 206 or 216.
2/17/2017 Death of 9-day-old infant still
under investigation in Nanticoke
An investigation into the November death of a 9-day-old girl is continuing, Nanticoke
Police Chief Thomas Wall said Thursday.
In December, Wall told the Times Leader
that officers were dispatched to an East Union Street residence Nov. 20 after
a report of an unresponsive infant. First responders attempted CPR on the baby,
and she was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley in Plains Township, where she was
Wall said Thursday that officers are awaiting toxicology
and other results on the infant, whose name has not been released. Wall declined
to comment further, citing the active investigation.
Autopsies are routinely
performed in infant deaths, according to officials at the Luzerne County Coroners
Office. No one has been charged in the 9-day-olds death.
mother, Sydney Simon, 26, declined to comment Thursday about her daughters
case, citing instructions from her attorney. That attorney, Timothy Thomas Vancosky,
could not be reached for comment.
In an unrelated case, Simon was arraigned
Dec. 29 on charges she had controlled substances in her possession while she was
in the Luzerne County prison on a domestic violence charge stemming from a Dec.
18 incident. The domestic charge has since been dismissed.
According to a
court docket, Simon pleaded guilty to a single charge of use or possession of
drug paraphernalia in connection with the possession case, in which prison officials
said they found a bag hidden in her bra that contained controlled substances.
Police said that inside the bag was one empty capsule of Adderall, one Tramadol,
34 capsules of Klonopin and one Flexeril.
Court dockets indicate she was sentenced
to one year of probation on Jan. 18.
panel rejects jailed Nanticoke mans appeal
James Halpin -
A three-judge panel of the state Superior Court on Tuesday
rejected the appeal of a Nanticoke man serving time in prison on vehicular homicide
James Novis, 41, is serving seven to 14 years in state prison after
pleading guilty in November 2015 to charges related to the crash that killed Cherri
Prosecutors say Novis was driving drunk on May 4, 2013, when he
ran off state Route 29 in Lehman Township, vaulted over an embankment and crashed
into another embankment 45 feet away. Novis blood-alcohol level was between
.12 and .126 percent within two hours of the crash, and evidence showed he had
been driving at 83 mph in a 50 mph zone before losing control of the car, according
Novis appealed the sentence imposed by Luzerne County Judge
Tina Polachek Gartley on grounds she failed to consider his remorse.
Tuesday found Novis claims lack merit and that Gartley imposed
an appropriate sentence.
rapist charged with child porn possession
A city man already awaiting trial on a rape charge now faces child pornography
charges as well.
Police on Wednesday charged Christopher Bates, 43, with possession
of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility, both felonies.
According to a police affidavit:
Officers seized Bates Nokia cellphone
during an investigation that led to rape charges being filed against him in November
2016. Bates consented to a search of the phone, according to police. Officers
conducted a forensic analysis of the phone, which revealed two digital images
of nude female juveniles that were saved to the phone from two separate websites
in February 2015.
A preliminary hearing on the charges filed Wednesday is
scheduled for Feb. 15 before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
Bates is in Luzerne County Correctional Facility awaiting a formal arraignment
March 10 on the rape charge in county court.
Man charged after attacking girlfriend in Nanticoke
A city man is facing charges after police say he attacked his girlfriend.
Police responded at 10:01 p.m. Sunday to 78 W. Broad St., after a caller said
she was pushed by her boyfriend, according to a criminal complaint.
said Michael Mattey met officers at the door, and told them Michael Gabriel, 62,
pushed his mother, Laura Mattey, down to the floor, causing her head to hit the
According to the complaint:
Once inside the residence, police found
Laura in the bedroom holding her head and crying. Laura said she needed medication
before going to bed and then knocked on Gabriels door, but he refused to
answer. Michael forced the bedroom door open to get her medication. Gabriel became
angry and began to argue with Laura. During the argument, Gabriel grabbed Laura
by the arms and threw her to the floor.
Officers observed a black and blue
bruise on the side of Lauras forehead.
Gabriel told officers Michael
was overreacting and that Laura punched him in the mouth.
Police charged Gabriel
with assault and harassment. After an arrangement with District Judge Donald Whittaker,
Gabriel was lodged at Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000
bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing 10 a.m. Feb. 8 in front of Whittaker.
Suspect in Nanticoke mans murder remains on the
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
The hunt continued
Friday for the man accused of shooting another man dead earlier this week.
Antoine William McNeal, 32, of Wilkes-Barre, is wanted on murder charges alleging
he shot and killed 20-year-old Brandon Smith outside Smiths home on West
Church Street in Nanticoke about 2 a.m. Wednesday.
According to police, the
men got into an argument that resulted in McNeal shooting Smith several times.
Smith died about an hour later at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains
McNeal remained on the lam Friday, with police saying he is considered
armed and dangerous.
We are still actively search(ing) for
McNeal, state police spokesman Trooper Tom Kelly said in a statement.
Court records show McNeal has a checkered past involving several drug cases.
Most recently, he served a 21 to 42 month prison sentence imposed by Luzerne County
Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III in three separate cases.
In the summer of 2012,
McNeal was hit with drug-trafficking charges after selling an undercover state
troopers informant heroin, court records show. A search of his home turned
up 191 packets of heroin, 16 baggies of cocaine and some marijuana, police alleged.
Next, McNeal was arrested in April 2013 after Wilkes-Barre police pulled over
a car with an expired registration and he lied about his name, according to court
Then in November 2014, McNeal was caught unloading trash from a vehicle
into a dumpster at the Interfaith Heights Apartments. McNeal gave a fake name
and reeked of marijuana, police alleged. Officers found him in possession
of a bag of marijuana, police said.
Court records show McNeal pleaded guilty
to charges of dealing heroin and lying about his identity to police, with other
counts being dismissed.
After being sentenced in April 2015 getting
credit for about a half-year time served McNeal made parole May 3, according
to the state Department of Corrections.
McNeal was previously sentenced to
serve up to 23 months in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility after pleading
guilty to drug-trafficking conspiracy in a 2006 crack-distribution case.
records also show that ABC Bail Bonds won a $1,342 civil judgment against McNeal
and his wife last August. According to the complaint, the company agreed to post
bond in one of McNeals cases for a $2,200 fee but he only paid $1,000.
The charges state police filed against McNeal on Thursday include criminal homicide,
illegal weapons possession, criminal use of a communication facility and evidence
Anyone with information about McNeals whereabouts is asked
to call state police at Wyoming at 570-697-2000.
Suspect named in Nanticoke murder
Mark - Citizens Voice
Police have named a suspect in the murder of
a Nanticoke man early Wednesday morning.
Antoine McNeal, 32, of Wilkes-Barre,
shot and killed 20-year-old Brandon Smith outside Smiths home on West Church
Street in Nanticoke at 2 a.m. Wednesday, police allege.
Police obtained an
arrest warrant against McNeal on Thursday. He had not been located as of Thursday
night and is considered armed and dangerous, police said.
According to police,
Smith and McNeal got into an altercation that resulted in McNeal shooting Smith
An autopsy conducted Thursday morning determined that Smith
died of multiple gunshot wounds inflicted during a homicide, according to the
Luzerne County Coroners Office.
McNeal faces charges of homicide, illegal
weapons possession, criminal use of a communication facility and evidence tampering,
according to court records.
Anyone with information about McNeal or his whereabouts
is asked to call state police at Wyoming at 570-697-2000.
One man killed in early-morning shooting in Nanticoke
A 20-year-old man was killed in a shooting early
Sources said the shooting happened at approximately 2 a.m.
in the area of 185 West Church St. The victim, identified as Brandon Smith, suffered
multiple gunshot wounds, according to officials.
Smith was taken to Geisinger
Wyoming Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
It is believed
Smith knew the shooter. However, police have not made any arrests.
said they believe the shooting was drug-related.
Officials from the Pennsylvania
State Police in Wyoming, the Luzerne County District Attorneys Office, and
the Nanticoke Police Department are investigating.
The shooting marks the
second in Nanticoke in the past month, and the second homicide in Luzerne County
In December, Kenneth Powell was shot when a physical altercation
spilled into the street. Powell and his girlfriend, Courtney Padden, were subsequently
charged after investigators allegedly found numerous drugs and drug paraphernalia
inside his residence.
On Jan. 12, Keith Williams was charged with homicide
after he allegedly shot a man in the chest with a shotgun after a dispute in Fairmount
A troubled home?
Residents throughout West Church Street said
the house where the homicide occurred has been known as a troubled spot.
were still on the scene at approximately 10:30 a.m. as tape surrounded the residence.
At one point, a small dog could be seen peering out from a second-floor window
of the residence before scurrying back inside.
A resident a few houses down
from the scene, who declined to be identified, said the residence has been known
Resident Joe Damario also noted the houses
Damario, 36, was awakened by his dogs when police first
arrived on the scene. The porch of his residence directly overlooks the residence
at 185 West Church St.
Damario said verbal altercations are commonly heard
outside of the residence, and a lot of people tend to come and go without staying
As he looked at the scene hours after the incident, he said he was happy
his three children did not have to experience it on their way to school.
they didnt have to walk through that, he said.
Another longtime resident of the street speculated an ongoing drug issue in the
city contributed to the shooting. Other neighbors described West Church Street
as a quiet street with few problems.
Damario said that beyond drugs, absentee
landlords who rent residences to anybody without background checks contribute
to the violent behavior.
Damario speculated there was more to the shooting.
I think that had personal written all over it, he said.
Police seek suspect in Nanticoke robbery
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
A man robbed
the Cocoa Hut convenience store on East Main Street in Nanticoke early Tuesday
morning, according to police.
The robbery happened at about 4 a.m., according
to Nanticoke police Chief Thomas Wall.
A man walked into the store, told a
cashier he had a gun and demanded money, Wall said. The clerk took the drawer
out of the register and the man grabbed cash and left the store on foot. He was
last seen on Prospect Street, Wall said.
The man did not display a weapon
during the robbery, according to Wall.
Nanticoke police and state police responded.
Police released video surveillance footage of the alleged robber on Tuesday. He
appears to be wearing pink sweatpants with the word Luzerne on the
Anyone with information about the suspect or this crime is asked
to call Nanticoke police at 570-735-2200.