Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Alleged Tacony dungeon mastermind expected to plead guilty

Linda Ann Weston is accused of keeping mentally disabled people captive and of murder in two cases.

LINDA ANN WESTON, the accused mastermind of a decadelong scheme to kidnap and keep mentally disabled victims hostage - including four adults found malnourished in a locked Tacony dungeon in 2011 - is expected to plead guilty this morning in federal court.

Weston, 55, her then-boyfriend, another man and her daughter were arrested in October 2011 after police discovered the four mentally disabled victims locked in a squalid, urine-reeking sub-basement of an apartment building on Longshore Avenue.

In January 2013, federal authorities indicted the four and added a fifth defendant, a Florida man.

They were accused of keeping their captives hostage to bilk them of their Social Security benefits and of moving them across state lines.

Weston faces a host of charges including hate crimes for allegedly targeting disabled people, forced human labor, kidnapping, sex trafficking, conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering, and theft.

Also, Weston alone was charged with two counts of murder - one for the June 2005 death of Donna Spadea, 59, in an apartment on Glenview Street in Northeast Philadelphia, and the other for the November 2008 death of Maxine Lee, 39, a Philadelphia native, in Norfolk, Va.

The U.S. Department of Justice in Washington has been considering whether to seek the death penalty against Weston.

Weston's court docket indicates she is scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing today before U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe. Weston had previously pleaded not guilty.

Paul George, one of Weston's defense attorneys, declined comment yesterday.

Patty Hartman, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney's Office, also said her office would not comment on Weston's hearing.

Two other defendants have already pleaded guilty.

Eddie Wright, 54, a self-described pastor from Texas, pleaded guilty in April to all counts he faced. Weston's daughter, Jean McIntosh, 36, of Philadelphia pleaded guilty in December to all counts against her.

Two other defendants, Weston's former boyfriend, Gregory Thomas, 51, of Philadelphia and Nicklaus Woodard, 29, of Florida, face trial.