The man accused of fatally shooting an aspiring teacher interrupted testimony several times Monday, overshadowing the proceedings as the murder trial for Marcellus "Ant North" Jones moves toward its conclusion. "Hey, your honor," Jones said at one point. "I'm innocent of this crime. I didn't have nothing to do with it, and I can definitely prove it." Jones, 37, is accused of killing Beau Zabel to steal his iPod. When Zabel's mother took the witness stand, Jones had another outburst: "I need to go out. I'm done with this." Testimony in the trial over the high-profile 2008 slaying is expected to conclude today. Read more
Officials are investigating after a severed pig's head was found outside a mosque in North Philadelphia. Surveillance video shows someone in a red pickup truck tossing something toward the Al Aqsa Islamic Society on Germantown Avenue late Sunday night. An employee found the bloodied animal head at about 6 a.m. Monday. Pigs are considered insulting to Muslims who follow halal dietary laws. "It is a heinous act that sends a message to Arab American communities that they are not wanted here in Philadelphia, and that could not be further from the truth," said Rue Landau, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. Read more
A groundbreaking ceremony is taking place today for a planned 26-story, 322-unit apartment complex in Midtown Village. Houston development company Hines and the local Goldenberg Group say the 1213 Walnut development is a sign of Center City's success in attracting big national developers to residential projects. "Center City Philadelphia had popped up as a place where we needed to think more about spending some time," Hines managing director Daniel Moore said. "Not only was the population getting bigger, but we started thinking of it in a broad sense of getting bigger, better, smarter." In addition to apartments, the 1213 Walnut project will also include about 18,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Read more
Two people have been arrested in the slaying of Kathryn Wilson, a 54-year-old block captain in Philadelphia's Fishtown section. Police say 47-year-old Jane Johnson, who cleaned Wilson's house for years, and Johnson's boyfriend, 50-year-old James Cheever, who sometimes did odd jobs for her, have been charged with murder. The pair knew Wilson kept between $20,000 and $25,000 in the house, they planned to steal it, police say. "They went in with the intent to beat and rob her," Homicide Capt. James Clark said, "and it escalated into murder." Read more
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams wants state Attorney General Kathleen Kane to testify about her decision to shut down an undercover sting operation. The District Attorney's Office is asking a judge to order Kane to give testimony in the case of State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop, one of the officeholders charged in the probe. Kane has contended that the operation, which she shut down, was tainted by racial profiling, an allegation rejected by Williams and Frank Fina, a former state prosecutor who led the investigation and now works for Williams. "Kathleen Kane was the first and only person to claim that this investigation was racially motivated and biased," Kathy Martin, a top deputy to Williams, said. "And she should be the first person, if she believes that, to come to court and testify under oath." Read more