Theresa Jones illegally bought two guns for felons years ago, and thugs used the weapons to kill a teenager, threaten two cops, deal drugs and possibly commit other crimes.
Yesterday, she went to court to answer for her crime.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Leon W. Tucker sentenced Jones, 45, of North Philadelphia, to six to 23 months of house arrest, followed by seven years of probation, for various gun offenses.
Jones and her relatives, relieved that she had dodged jail time, hugged her attorney, Glenn Gilman, after Tucker announced the sentence. Because of medical problems and her role as caretaker for five grandchildren, Jones spends most of her time at home and would have found prison a severe hardship, Gilman said yesterday.
The sentence ended a long wait for Jones, who pleaded guilty to the charges against her in July 2008. Her sentencing was postponed 10 times, a common stalling tactic when police and prosecutors want to ensure that a defendant will testify against another in other pending cases.
Late yesterday, her sentence hung in limbo because Jones lives in a Philadelphia Housing Authority apartment, which bars people under house arrest, Gilman said. Gilman requested that court officials convert her house arrest into probation, but they refused. So he will ask a judge today to defer her sentence until she can find and move into a private-sector home, where she could serve house arrest.
The Daily News profiled Jones' case in a November story about straw-purchasers, that is, people like Jones who commit a felony by buying guns for convicts prohibited from purchasing them.
In 2003, she agreed to buy a gun for a neighbor who wasn't legally permitted to own one, because she wanted money to support her drug addiction. She later bought a second gun for another felon.
Although she never saw either firearm again, investigators traced both back to serious crimes.
A convicted felon used one to kill Nazir Gary, 19, of Kingsessing, in 2007; the same thug, weeks later, brandished that gun at two police officers, who were able to wrest it from him before he could fire.
Narcotics officers later seized the second gun from a drug dealer nabbed in an undercover sting.