By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There are new charges and some chilling new details from alleged victims in the case of four mentally challenged adults who were found imprisoned in the basement of a building in Northeast Philadelphia earlier this year.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, Linda Weston sat impassively Monday as alleged victims testified and prosecutors amended the charges against Weston, her daughter Jean McIntosh, Weston’s boyfriend Gregory Thomas, and Eddie Wright.
The additional charges include aggravated assault, terroristic threats, stalking, theft, and neglect.
The sordid alleged scheme to steal Social Security checks came to life in mid-October. A landlord testified he called police after he discovered people in a sub-basement of his Tacony apartment building.
Prosecutors say they turned out to be four people — three men and a woman — who are mentally disabled adults.
The landlord testified that one of them was chained to a boiler pipe. The landlord used a hacksaw to cut the lock while an officer held a flashlight in the darkened dungeon.
Today, on the witness stand, 31-year-old Edwin Sanabria described his ten-year odyssey with Linda Weston and others — locked in rooms or closets in Florida, Texas, and Virginia, and eventually in Philadelphia, in that sub-basement dungeon where he and three others were discovered.
Sanabria also testified that the last Social Security check he cashed was in 2001, when Linda Weston had him sign papers giving her access to the checks. It’s the first time that prosecutors have brought out in open court the alleged scheme to defraud the mentally disabled adults of their Social Security checks.