The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 14, 1988 · Page 6
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 6

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Thursday, July 14, 1988
Page 6
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Thursday, July 14, 1988 The Philadelphia Inquirer J7-B A stricken neighborhood remembers a little girl By Daniel Rubin and Robert J. Terry Inquirer Stall Wrlun The last time neighbors saw Barbara Jean Horn alive, the 4-year-old girl was walking up her block of Rutland Street toward Cottman Avenue hand-in-hand with a man, police sources said yesterday. It was about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, an hour and a half after her stepfather, John Fahy, had reported her missing. The man with her was between 25 and 30, about 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, with sandy or brown hair and a suntan, witnesses told police. He wore cut-off Jeans and a white T-shirt. No more than a half hour later, Mike Massl, the new-car manager of Kutner Buick, saw a man of similar description dragging a box for a 13-Inch Hitachi television set down Saint Vincent Street in the city's Castor Gardens section. About 5:30 p.m., a neighbor's screams brought Jack Torrante to that same cardboard box, then abandoned under a tree. Inside, he found the nude body of the young girl with dark hair and bangs and partially covered by a dark plastic trash bag. An autopsy conducted later Tuesday showed she had been hit about five times with a blunt object on the top and back of her head. There were no signs of struggle or sexual assault. Police yesterday were canvassing the narrow streets of rowhouses and Lift MOVE gag order, bond firm asks court By Vernon Loeb Iruiuirer Stall Writer The bonding company that guaranteed completion of the MOVE rebuilding project yesterday filed a motion in U.S. District Court challenging a gag order obtained by the Goode administration prohibiting the release of information about the controversial construction effort. The company, Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland, said in its motion that the administration's attorney "understandably would like to avoid the press and anyone else ever again hearing about the MOVE fire and rehabilitation." Nonetheless, Fidelity & Deposit, represented by S. Gordon Elkins of Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, said that the gag order should not be used to "silence witnesses or to prevent trial preparation" in related cases. The gag order was issued at the administration's request in April by an arbitration panel seeking to resolve a federal court suit filed against the city by G&V General Contractors Inc., the construction com- any that completed rebuilding 61 est Philadelphia rowhouses destroyed in the May 1985 MOVE confrontation. G&V, which took over the project after developer Ernest A. Edwards Jr. defaulted in February 1986, filed Court, citing racial bias, reverses conviction in Del. By Mack Reed Special to The Inquirer WILMINGTON The Delaware Supreme Court, citing a racially biased question by the state prosecutor, has reversed the attempted-murder conviction of Dennis 0. Weddington, vacating his life sentence and ordering a new trial. On March 16, 1987, a Superior Court jury convicted Weddington, 31, of Wilmington, on charges of first-degree attempted murder, second-degree assault and possession of a weapon during commission of a felony. The jury had heard testimony that Weddington severely beat his girlfriend, Terry Hopson, 22, of Wilmington, on Jan. 24, 1986, and shot her through the head on Feb. 4, 1986. Hopson, who is white, survived the shooting. Weddington, who is black, was sentenced to life in prison on May 15, 1987, and jailed at Delaware Correctional Center in Smyrna. The Supreme Court ruled July 7 that racial bias was injected into Weddington 's trial when a state prosecutor asked Weddington, "Isn't it Doylestown lawyer pleads guilty in personal-injury fraud case By Howard Goodman fcHfuirer Stall Writer A Doylestown lawyer accused of making dozens of phony personal-Injury claims to insurance companies pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of mail fraud and obstruction of justice. Richard Elliott Toll, 40, of the firm R. Elliott Toll & Associates, softly said "guilty" when asked by U.S. District Judge Franklin S. VanAntwer-pen how he responded to charges that he bilked insurance companies of $388,363 in falso injury claims, overcharged clients by $78,189 and encouraged a witness to destroy records sought by a grand Jury. Toll could receive a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail, a fine of $750,000 and an order to pay restitution. Toll's guilty plea came just two days after a Montgomery County lawyer, Jeffrey M. Silow, received a five-year sentence for similar offenses. Both lawyers were provided false medical billings to back up insur r.-.IWilW.M..l.... IWHW-.M,. Ill .n.i. Jll i rtf i , r , 4 Barbara Jean Horn Found fatally beaten twin homes that cross Castor Avenue just south of Cottman Avenue, showing pictures of the girl and a composite sketch of the suspect. Meanwhile, the stable family neighborhood was transformed into a place where wary eyes watched the moves of strangers and mothers' hands firmly gripped their children's. the federal suit seeking $5 million in damages from the administration, contending that Mayor Goode personally promised to cover all cost overruns associated with the project a claim Goode denies. G&V became involved with the project at Goode's request and agreed to provide Edwards with a performance bond guaranteeing completion of all 61 homes for $6.74 million. The project's final cost exceeded $9 million. After G&V filed the federal suit against the administration in December 1986, the administration filed suit in federal court against Fidelity & Deposit, G&V's bonding company, seeking losses and damages in excess of $2 million. Fidelity & Deposit filed its motion yesterday after the attorney representing the administration in both cases related to the MOVE rebuilding project, Kenneth M. Cushman of Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, declined to provide Fidelity & Deposit with depositions taken in the arbitration proceedings, citing the gag order. Cushman has also cited the order in declining to comment on the case. In the motion filed yesterday, Fidelity & Deposit said that the gag order, which Cushman "drafted and persuaded the lay arbitrators to sign," should not be allowed to supersede federal court rules of procedure for discovery in cases. true that you got two male acquaintances! to go up to Indiana IPa.l because you told them there was some loose white women up there?" Weddington, who had moved to Wilmington from Indiana, Pa., in 1984, answered, "I don't know what you're talking about." Weddington's attorney, Lawrence A. Ramunno, objected to the question. Ramunno asked Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein to declare a mistrial because the prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Charles E. Butler, had brought racial prejudice into the case. Gebelein ruled that the question was improper and instructed the jury to ignore it but said it was not ground for a mistrial. Later, during a hearing on Weddington's appeal, which began May 17 before the Supreme Court, Deputy Attorney General Loren C. Meyers admitted that the question had no factual basis and that it could be viewed as creating racial bias against Weddington. Butler, who was on vacation, could not be reached for comment. ance claims from the same physician, Dr. Marc E. Jaffe of Hatfield, according to court records. Jaffe has received immunity from prosecution in exchange for cooperating with authorities, according to court testimony. Under a plea agreement, Toll is expected to help prosecutors in a continuing investigation into personal-injury fraud, soid Glenn B. Bronson, an assistant I'.S. attorney. According to prosecutors, Toll had a nine-year relationship with Jaffe in which the doctor provided the lawyer with phony medical bills, office records and medical charts. Jaffe's records showed that for 49 clients for whom Toll submitted insurance claims, Jaffe submitted medical bills for 1,372 doctor's visits. Actually, the clients made 168 doctor's visits. Jaffe was prepared to testify that Toll also oblained fraudulent medical bills from at least two other doctors, according to a memorandum prosecutors filed in court. its f Jr, 9 A " ; t " t 4 ' i : 'f : "What if he lives within the block? " said Ann Newsham, one of the mothers in the neighborhood, speaking of the killer. "He could be watching the kids right now. He could be thinking, '1 got away with one, I could get away with another.' " She spoke yesterday afternoon across the street from the pink-shuttered brick rowhouse where Barbara Jean Horn, dressed in shorts and a top, had been playing Tuesday afternoon. Four children, ages 2 through 5, were sitting in front of Newsham and three other women, taking turns with crayons on a McGruff the Crime Dog coloring book. "Every mother feels the same way I do," said Newsham, who added that her 12-year-old son was extremely upset about the girl's death. "We're going to keep watching behind us and in front of us. You just don't know." Newsham described Barbara Jean as extremely shy, the sort who would never stray from the front yard unless invited by a neighbor. "She wouldn't go with someone she didn't know," Newsham said. Horn's mother, Sharon, 26, was at work when the girl disappeared. Fahy, 26, had been looking after her, police said. Bernie Getzik, their next-door neighbor in the 7200 block of Rutland, said Fahy appeared to be in a panic when he realized that the girl was missing. "He was running. 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The neighbors who told police that they saw the girl at 3:30 p.m. were about a half block away at the time, detectives said. Mass! said in an interview that he was sitting at a desk by a window facing Saint Vincent Street around 3:30 or 4 p.m. when he noticed a man walking north on the west side of Castor Avenue carrying r-t-jfr ill if iuUK NOW 20Reg $24 99 $QQOO NOW Reg. $39.99 " GEAMFMFM Stereo Radio Tuner. NOW UJ Reg. $69.99 BELL SOUTH "Essential" -rhpTnnnn1: np FOREMOST FURNITURE Mult,- He M S "tod key uP Purpose Utility Carl. Perfect for pad, Almond (777722), clip.49WH3 microwave oven or TVVCR. burgundy (777919), black (778125) 106933 I SUMMER SEASONAL, TOYS AND SPORTING GOODS a television box In his arms. The man crossed Saint Vincent Street about 20 feet in front of Massi, and stopped in the front lawn of the Lutheran Church of Saint Luke, at 7200 Castor Ave. "He put the box down and appeared to catch his breath," Massl said. After 15 or 20 seconds, the man reached down and grabbed hold of a dark plastic bag that was protruding from the bottom of the box and began pulling the box along the sidewalk toward the middle of the 1400 block of Saint Vincent Street. Torrante came upon the box after a neighbor started screaming after discovering it where trash had been sitting a few hours before. "Lying in there face down in the fetal position was a real small child," Torrante said In an interview Tuesday. "Its back was facing up to me. It was horrible." The autopsy, performed at the Medical Examiner's Office, showed that blows on the top and back of her head probably killed the girl. The body bore no scratches or cuts. Police have taken a serial number from the television box, which they are trying to trace. Inspector Charles Farrcll, of the Northeast Detective Division, said four homicide and four burglary detectives canvassed the neighborhood yesterday morning and that another dozen or so officers would be joining the effort after 3:30 p.m., when residents begin arriving home from ipf fnes ,n stock. ARE NOT CARRIED IN OUR CHESTNUT work. They were talking to "anyone who saw anything or knew anything," Farrell said. "She was such a nice little girl," Getzik said. "I asked her Just, the other day, 'Can I jump in the pool with you?' She said sure." Getzik said he couldn't sleep Tuesday night "Just thinking about it, Someone who'd do something like that." Over on Saint Vincent Street, Pat Kaye, 25, passed the spot where the girl's body was found. She pushed her 6-month-old boy in a stroller and held his 3-year-old brother by the hand. "Did they catch him yet?" she asked a neighbor, Glorianna Chase, 16. Kaye said she had always been aware of crime, since her father is a policeman, but never had it hit so close, "This just scares me, it really does. You don't want to worry about your children. Now I'll have him on a leash, I guess. I won't let him out of my sight." Nearby, homicide detective J.D. Fischer was interviewing Chase's 9-year-old brother. Afterward, he said the whole department would be getting involved. "When you have a 4-year-old girl Ikilledl, you don't want it to happen again." Fischer said these are the worst cases. "It's a real shame. I hate kid jobs. I hate them with a passion. They really can bother you. "I've heard she was as cute as she could be." Anfrrii? Special i r Look for tnese special tags for savings on jewelry I Hundreds of unadvertised SDecials! ST. LOCATION ii3w) LI

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