Philly basement suspect gets death-penalty lawyer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A paroled killer charged with murdering two disabled adults in a Social Security fraud scheme has been assigned a new lawyer with death-penalty experience.
Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia may seek the death penalty against 52-year-old Linda Weston. She's the accused ringleader of a group charged with kidnapping mentally disabled adults, keeping them in squalor, starving them, beating them and taking their government checks.
Weston made a brief federal court appearance Monday, the same day related state charges were dropped. She is due back in court Thursday.
Defense lawyer George Yacoubian has represented her in the state case. He calls the federal charges overblown.
Yacoubian says local authorities in Philadelphia and Virginia investigated the deaths without filing murder charges.
Death-penalty lawyer Patricia McKinney now represents Weston in the federal case.