TWO DAYS after a judge dismissed charges against one of four people arrested for imprisoning mentally disabled adults in a Tacony basement, the District Attorney's Office refiled charges against him.
Eddie Wright, 50, faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 20 on charges including kidnapping, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and terroristic threats.
Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan had dismissed those charges Tuesday, apparently agreeing with defense attorney Louis D'Onofrio's claim that Wright was a victim and not a conspirator. Wright slept and ate with the captives and also had his Social Security checks stolen by ringleader Linda Ann Weston, her daughter Jean McIntosh and her boyfriend Gregory Thomas, D'Onofrio had argued.
"I cannot in good conscience hold Mr. Wright for trial," Dugan said during Tuesday's hearing.
Yesterday, Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for the D.A.'s office, declined to comment on the decision to refile charges, citing Dugan's gag order in the case.
But prosecutors typically refile charges when judges dismiss them if they feel they have enough evidence to prosecute successfully. D'Onofrio couldn't be reached for comment.
Weston, McIntosh, Thomas and Wright stand accused of kidnapping vulnerable people, who they then allegedly shuttled from state to state to dodge detection while stealing their government assistance checks.
The scheme was uncovered after a landlord discovered Tamara Breeden, Edwin Sanabria, Drwin McLemire and Herbert Knowles in a dark, dirty subbasement boiler room on Longshore Avenue on Oct. 15.