IN A matter-of-fact voice, and wearing a long, straight black wig that hid the severe injuries and scars to her head, a niece of Linda Ann Weston described to a judge yesterday how she had been tortured over the years.
Beatrice Weston said that she was beaten, burned, banished to live in locked closets and forced to prostitute herself.
When they lived in Texas, Linda Weston called men on a party line and would "have them come up [to Weston's house] and make me have sex with them," Beatrice testified yesterday.
Weston would also force another woman in the house, Tamara Breeden, to have sex with the men, too, Beatrice said.
"She would make us do this at the same time," Beatrice said. "She would tell us to have sex and get the money from them."
Linda Ann Weston, 52, the alleged mastermind behind a scheme to kidnap vulnerable people, move them from state to state and benefit from them financially, was held for trial yesterday by Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan after a two-day preliminary hearing. She's charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, conspiracy and related offenses.
Also held were Weston's boyfriend, Gregory Thomas, 48, and her daughter, Jean McIntosh, 32.
Dugan dismissed all charges against a fourth defendant - Eddie Wright, 50.
Wright's attorney, Louis D'Onofrio, successfully argued that Wright "is much more like the victims in this case."
Wright slept and ate in the same subbasement boiler room on Longshore Avenue in Tacony, where four of the victims, who were mentally challenged adults - Breeden, Edwin Sanabria, Drwin McLemire and Herbert Knowles - were found Oct. 15.
When the group drove up from Florida to Philadelphia, Wright was crammed into the back luggage area of a Ford Expedition with the four basement victims and Beatrice. And, like the four basement victims, Wright also had his Social Security disability money stolen by Weston, D'Onofrio said.
Wright's Social Security card was also found in Weston's pocketbook by police, and Wright had never received his disability money, witnesses testified yesterday.
Dugan said that what he heard from testimony about the other three defendants was akin to a "real-life horror movie."
Beatrice Weston, 20, nicknamed "Piggy," testified under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Yankolonis about some of those horrors:
* She said that when they arrived in Philadelphia in October, McIntosh - her cousin, whom she called "Shay" - put a jacket over her face, pushed her into Shay's second-floor apartment on Longshore Avenue and forced her to stay inside a bathroom closet for about two weeks.
* Someone, likely Linda Weston, padlocked the closet door, and Beatrice had to urinate in a cup.
* In the closet, she once heard McIntosh in the bathroom saying, "Don't you wish you were in here taking a hot shower like me?"
* After cops found the four basement victims, McIntosh told Beatrice that, if asked, to tell police that she didn't know Linda Weston and to give them a fake name.
* She was also at times locked inside a closet when she lived with Weston in West Palm Beach, Fla., and would have to go to the bathroom in a bucket.
* A boyfriend of Weston's in Florida, named Nick, beat Beatrice with a metal bat on her right ear, giving her a cauliflower ear.
* Weston slammed Beatrice's mouth with a baseball bat and Nick pistol-whipped it with a gun, giving Beatrice her crooked, knocked-out teeth.
* Shown a recent photo of a fork mark on the back of her neck, she said that her cousin Sophia Thomas, a daughter of Weston and Thomas, had burned her with a metal fork in front of Weston.
* Weston had also burned her with a metal spoon.
* McIntosh beat her once with a hammer in Florida.
* She was 10 when she started living with Weston in Philadelphia. When Beatrice was about 11, Weston, who was trying to get Social Security disability benefits for her, "took me to a psychiatrist," Beatrice said. "She told me to act crazy." Beatrice was denied the benefits, and Weston beat her.
During Beatrice's testimony, McIntosh at times smirked and apparently tried to communicate with Beatrice, causing the judge to yell: "Ma'am, you need to cut those motions out! I can read lips, and so can the witness!"