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Maintenance man sentenced to life without parole for 2015 murder of Drexel grad near 50th and Locust

Posted on 30 March 2017 by Mike Lyons

             Jasmine Wright was 27.

The maintenance man standing trial for the rape and murder of a woman who lived in the building where he worked was found guilty on Wednesday of first degree murder and other charges and sentenced to life without parole.

James Harris, 56, was found guilty in the July 2015 rape and murder of 27-year-old Jasmine Wright, a Drexel graduate student, at her apartment near 50th and Locust Streets.

Harris had worked in the building where Wright lived, but had been fired a week earlier, according to reports. He still had keys to the building when Wright was murdered. Police said his DNA and fingerprints were found at the scene.  Continue Reading

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Victims held at gunpoint during home invasion, robbery near 48th and Baltimore

Posted on 28 March 2017 by WestPhillyLocal.com

Police are investigating a home invasion and gunpoint robbery that took place early Friday morning on the 800 block of South 48th Street.

An 18-year-old male, reportedly a homestay student, was entering the residence at approximately 2:30 a.m. when he was approached from behind by three unknown young males. One of them pointed a gun at him, and then the men forced their way into the property, according to police.

Once inside, the men put the 18-year-old and two other people – reportedly the property owners – on the floor and robbed them. They took the 18-year-old victim’s wallet, cash, a debit card and cell phone. They also made the property owners open a safe, located on the second floor, and took $1,500 from it, according to a police report.  Continue Reading

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Two sought in murder of West Philly community organizer Winnie Harris

Posted on 24 March 2017 by WestPhillyLocal.com

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying two “persons of interest” wanted for questioning in connection with last month’s murder of longtime Powelton resident, community activist and green space advocate Winnie Harris, 65. Police have also released a video that shows the two people walking near Harris’ house (one of them appears to be holding a gun):

Harris, Executive Director of UC Green, was found shot to death inside her house on the 300 block of North Holly Street in West Powelton on February 3. According to a more recent police report, she had multiple gunshot wounds (initially it was reported that she was shot once in the abdomen). Harris was found in a second-floor bedroom. She lived alone in her house.

No arrests have been made.  Continue Reading

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Armed suspect sought in two West Philly food truck robberies

Posted on 16 March 2017 by WestPhillyLocal.com

                                       Click to enlarge.

The Philadelphia Police Department has released surveillance video and is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying an armed suspect who they believe robbed two food trucks in the area on Monday.

The first robbery took place at approximately 6:30 p.m. when an unknown male entered the Halal food truck parked near the corner of 45th and Walnut Streets, armed with a black handgun, and demanded money. He took $500 and fled north on 45th Street toward Sansom. Surveillance video shows the suspect getting out of the passenger side and then getting back into a black sedan parked near the corner of 45th and Sansom.  Continue Reading

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Neighbor wakes up to burglary in progress at Penn Café

Posted on 01 March 2017 by WestPhillyLocal.com

Penn Café, located on the 4900 block of Catharine Street in Cedar Park, was burglarized on early Tuesday morning, at approximately 3:40 a.m., according to police. A neighbor, who lives on the second floor of the building, woke up from a loud banging sound coming from the cafe on the first floor. The neighbor went downstairs and saw an unknown male inside the cafe who immediately fled through the rear door, according to police.

The suspect got away with $160 from the cash register. The ATM was also damaged. Police say the suspect got into the cafe by forced opening the rear door.

Police couldn’t retrieve any surveillance video; the business has cameras, but they were not turned on that night.

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West Philly High student acquitted of classmate’s murder

Posted on 23 February 2017 by Mike Lyons

A former West Philly High School student was found not guilty on Wednesday of the murder of a classmate near the 46th Street El stop in January 2015.

Xavier Beemon, who was 14 at the time, admitted to stabbing Nafis O’Neal, also 14, with a pocketknife during an after-school altercation, but said it was self defense. A jury agreed and after seven hours of deliberation acquitted Beemon on all charges, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Beemon was considerably smaller than O’Neal, who was a popular basketball and football player, according to testimony. Beemon, who moved to West Philly from Alabama in 2011, said he was so fearful of life in Philadelphia that he began hiding a pocketknife near school that he would carry home for protection. O’Neal approached Beemon after school and a scuffle ensued. Beemon said he swung the knife around and stabbed O’Neal once in the chest.

O’Neal was pronounced dead at the scene.

“I didn’t aim at his chest,” The Inquirer reported Beemon saying during testimony. “I just swung and it happened I hit his chest.”

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