Man charged in teen assault

A 53-year-old homeless man has been charged with trying to rape a Truebright Science Academy student in North Philadelphia, police said yesterday.

Detectives said that on March 16, Keith Williams followed the 15-year-old girl to the school, on Broad Street near McFerran, pinned her against a wall and tried to expose himself. A school dean chased him away.

Williams was found at a Southwest Philadelphia homeless shelter on May 19. He was charged with attempted rape, stalking, corrupting the morals of a minor and related offenses, police said.

Murder case continued

Two associates who were indicted in April with Kaboni Savage, the Philadelphia drug kingpin who is serving a 30-year sentence in federal prison, were granted requests yesterday in federal court to continue their arraignments until next week.

Robert Merritt and Steven Northington were charged with murder along with Savage in the 2004 firebombing that killed six people who were trapped inside a gasoline-soaked North Philadelphia house.

Merritt and Northington asked for the continuation so each could seek private counsel instead of their court-appointed attorneys.

Lincoln Drive closure

Lincoln Drive between Wissahickon Avenue and Kelly Drive will be closed today between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., the Streets Department has announced. Repairs are scheduled, and the department advised that drivers would experience delays.

Gov urges second look at case

Gov. Rendell has urged the U.S. Justice Department to pursue civil-rights charges against two Schuylkill County teens involved in the beating death of Mexican immigrant Luis Rami-rez in Shenandoah last year.

Although a local jury acquitted the two of serious charges in the case, Rendell wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that the incident merited further action. "This senseless and cowardly attack," he wrote, "appears to have been a hate crime."

No bids for Tropicana

A group including billionaire investor Carl Icahn appeared to have won the right to buy the Tropicana Casino and Resort at the bargain price of $200 million after no additional bids were submitted by the deadline yesterday.

The casino had been expected to fetch $1 billion before the recession sent the price plummeting. *

- Staff and wire reports