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Woman, 52, beaten to death in North Philly

?1? Woman, 52, beaten to death in N. Philly Gratz Street near Susquehanna Avenue

1 Woman, 52, beaten to death in N. Philly

Gratz Street near Susquehanna Avenue

A woman made a ghastly discovery late Tuesday night when she walked into her sister's North Philadelphia home and found her 52-year-old sister slumped on the couch, dead of severe blunt-force head trauma.

Medics arrived at the scene and pronounced the woman, identified as Lavonne Thrones-Johnson, dead at 10:50 p.m. They were unsure how long she'd been dead, but relatives told investigators they'd last seen the woman about 8 p.m. Police said there was no sign of forced entry into the house and were unsure if anyone lived with the woman. Police found a weapon they believe was used in the murder inside the house early Wednesday.

Some of the woman's relatives were taken to police headquarters to speak with investigators. Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 215-686-3334 or -3335, or the Police Department's anonymous tip line: 215-686-8477 (-TIPS).

2 Man, 20, shot dead in Elmwood

64th and Elmwood Avenue

A 20-year-old man was shot dead in Southwest Philly's Elmwood section late Wednesday night, police said.

The man was near the corner at 9:25 p.m. when two men approached and shot him more than once in the torso, according to cops. The man was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he died less within an hour. One of the men involved in the shooting was described by police as black, about 6 feet 2, with a light complexion and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. He and the other man, whose description was not immediately available, were seen fleeing north on 64th Street and then east on Reedland, cops said.

Police didn't know what led to the shooting.

3 Man arrested in Fairhill slayings

8th Street near Indiana Avenue

Police arrested a Mayfair man Tuesday in the shooting deaths of three people in North Philadelphia last October.

Arlando Pickett, 25, of Algard Street near Knorr, was charged with murder, gun offenses and related crimes in the Oct. 11 slayings of Duane Talley, 36, of Seltzer Street near 12th; Craig Lassiter, 38, of 8th Street near Indiana; and Mashanda English, 33. Police responded about 7:45 that night after receiving reports of gunshots. Talley and Lassiter died that day; English died two days later. A fourth victim survived.

Police spokeswoman Officer Tanya Little said that investigators still don't know what motivated the shootings. Court records show that Pickett is a repeat violent offender who beat an attempted-murder rap n 2009. The murder victims had prior arrests for drug offenses and other crimes.

?4? 3 men attacked in attempted robbery

61st Street near Passyunk Avenue

A 41-year-old man from Brownsville, N.J., was arrested Tuesday night after an armed robbery, assault and attempted carjacking in Southwest Philadelphia, police said.

Lt. John Walker of the Southwest Detective Division gave this account:

A 48-year-old man was pumping gas at a station about 4:45 p.m. when a man whom police identified as Sean Roberts approached him and demanded money. The man refused and, in response, Roberts allegedly used a box cutter to slash the man on his nose, on the left side of his head, on his right arm and behind his right ear. He also allegedly hit the man in his head with a baseball bat, then tried jumping into his car to flee.

A 52-year-old man who witnessed the attack tried to intervene, prompting Roberts to pummel him twice over the left eye with the bat before turning his rage on a third man. That man, 33, who had been pumping gas while his family sat in the car, approached Roberts, and, police said, Roberts shattered the front passenger-side window of their 1998 Ford Explorer. Police arrived and apprehended Roberts without incident. He was arrested on charges of robbery, aggravated assault and carjacking. The 48-year-old and the 52-year-old were listed in stable condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

In other news: Arrest made in W. Phila. robberies

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with four armed robberies in West Philadelphia and University City between April 26 and Sunday, police said.

Torin Myer, of Baring Street near 39th in West Philadelphia's Powelton section, was stopped and questioned Tuesday by Drexel University police because he fit the description of a man shown in a surveillance video fleeing the scene of one of the recent robberies, cops said.

Police said they found fingerless gloves, a white cloth that was used as a mask and a plastic gun in Myers' backpack and took him to the Southwest Detective Division.

On April 26, a man robbed the Green Line Café on Locust Street near 44th at gunpoint about 9:30 p.m. On April 30, a man fitting the description of the suspect in the first incident robbed another Green Line Café, on Lancaster Avenue near 36th Street in Powelton Village. Police said the same man returned to rob that café a second time on Friday.

On Sunday, a man fitting the description of the suspect in the first three incidents robbed a Chipotle restaurant at gunpoint on Walnut Street near 39th in University City.

— Phillip Lucas, Morgan Zalot and Dana DiFilippo