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Victim testifies at hearing for alleged captor of handicapped adults in Philadelphia


This news story was published on December 20, 2011.
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By Allison Steele, The Philadelphia Inquirer –

PHILADELPHIA — During more than 10 years of living with alleged kidnapper Linda Ann Weston, Edwin Sanabria never yelled for help or tried to escape.

Testifying during a preliminary hearing Monday in the kidnapping, assault, and fraud case against Weston, Sanabria, 31, described years of being imprisoned in rooms or small spaces, sleeping on floors, often going without food, and witnessing the repeated beatings of Weston’s other alleged victims.

Sanabria, one of four mentally handicapped adults who were found in October in the subbasement of an apartment house in the Tacony neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia, told of fathering several children with one of Weston’s other alleged victims, only to have them taken away. At times, he said, Weston and her accomplices forced him and his fellow captives to fight each other, and even ordered him to hit Tamara Breeden, the mother of those children.

“I never did want to,” Sanabria said at the heading. “Linda made me.”

Weston and her three co-defendants are accused of imprisoning the four, stealing their Social Security checks and moving them around the country to avoid detection. Police have alleged that Weston targeted vulnerable adults, gained their trust, and kidnapped them.

Police have described Weston, 51, as the ringleader of the scheme, and also charged her boyfriend, Gregory Thomas, 49; her daughter, Jean McIntosh, 32; and Eddie Wright, 50, a Texas street preacher.

Weston, a convicted murderer who starved her sister’s boyfriend to death in a closet 30 years ago, was arrested Oct. 15 after police found the adults in a basement. The four face were charged with kidnapping and conspiracy, and on Monday, prosecutors added charges of assault, stalking, neglect, and theft by deception.

Weston, McIntosh, and Wright face additional charges of abusing Beatrice Weston, a niece whom Linda Ann Weston allegedly kidnapped from Philadelphia several years ago. Police are also investigating Weston’s involvement with two women who died while in her care in 2005 and 2008.

Testimony in the hearing is scheduled to continue Tuesday, at which time Dugan will decide whether to hold the group for trial.

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