By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge today quickly revoked the bail of a defendant in a gun “straw purchase” case after the defendant allegedly tried to intimidate a witness, repeatedly calling her a snitch as she sat in court at the Criminal Justice Center.
Assistant district attorney Douglas Rhoads says he was in Courtroom 608 on an unrelated case when he heard defendant Gerald Andrews talking to the witness, “referring to her as a snitch, and essentially telling her to stop snitching. After I heard this, I intervened between the parties, and after I was able to separate the defendant from this witness, he again went back and referred to her as a snitch again,” he says.
Another ADA, Andrew Wellbrock, who is prosecuting the gun case, says the witness was present for the straw purchase but was not part of it, and was already a reluctant witness afraid of her former boyfriend.
“She went from being inconsolable, speaking to Mr. (ADA) Rhoads, to slowly opening up,” Wellbrock tells KYW Newsradio, “but you could see she was terrified. You could see the fear in her face.”
But Wellbrock says she was relieved after Andrews’ bail was revoked.
Additional charges are now expected against Andrews.
Andrews’ attorney, Daniel Alvarez, says he was not in the courtroom when the alleged comments were made and would not comment on that. He argued against the bail revocation.
A “straw purchase” of a weapon is one in which a third party makes the purchase on behalf of another person who would not pass the background check.