Police are probing the death of a 75-year-old psychiatrist who was found strangled in a Center City hotel. Howard Baker's naked body, with a leather belt wrapped around his neck, was found in his fifth-floor room at the Rodeway Inn. Homicide detectives are investigating, saying Baker died of asphyxiation, but stopped short of calling the death a murder. A person of interest in the case is in custody as police try to piece together what happened. "We don't really know what his routine is. We talked to [his] wife, and she didn't know that he was even there," Homicide Capt. James Clark said. "So we're trying to sort of backtrack [through] his lifestyle." Read more
Target is setting its sights on Center City and other urban areas in its bid to bring slimmed-down stores to neighborhoods, rather than having city dwellers venture out to the suburbs. Target plans to open three mini-stores in Center City over the next 22 months as part of that effort. "We do research on who the guest is, and who is living in that neighborhood, and develop the assortment mix accordingly," Target spokeswoman Kristy Welker said. "It's a younger demographic, millennial age, who are into tech and are why we are offering tech accessories, fashion, and home items." Read more
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says state police should take over investigations when city officers shoot suspects. Ramsey's comments came as U.S. Department of Justice officials released a progress report on the federal review of Philadelphia police's use of deadly force. The department said Philadelphia has made "significant progress," but some of the report's changes are unlikely to be implemented without cooperation from the city police union. Union president John McNesby called Ramsey's proposal for state police to investigate officer-involved shootings is a "clear violation" of the union's labor agreement. Read more
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin has been suspended for his involvement in the "Porngate" email scandal. The Court of Judicial Discipline said the offensive emails Eakin sent and received -- which depicted naked women and included jokes mocking minorities, women and others -- have "tainted the Pennsylvania judiciary in the eyes of the public." The suspension will remain in effect until the court determines at a trial whether Eakin violated judicial conduct rules. Read more
A new trial has been ordered for Msgr. William J. Lynn, overturning for a second time a landmark verdict that was the first conviction in the country of a Catholic Church official for covering up child sex abuse. A Superior Court panel ruled that Lynn's 2012 conviction was tainted by prosecutors' presentation of nearly two dozen examples of the Philadelphia Archdiocese's failure to handle pedophilia. That evidence was "unfairly prejudicial" against Lynn, who was only charged in connection with his supervision of two priests, the court said. "In our view, the evidence about other priests had nothing whatsoever to do with Msgr. Lynn and the allegations against him," said Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn's attorney. "I'm pleased with the court's recognition of that." Read more