Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.
By Bobby Kerlik
Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
An Allegheny County judge accepted a Clairton man's plea deal today in a criminal case, five days after she jailed him and voided it when he made a disparaging remark in court.
Edward Burgwin, 45, again pleaded no contest to endangering the welfare of a child and simple assault in exchange for six months of house arrest and five years of probation for a Sept. 1, 2010, incident with a girl. Burgwin took the same deal on Wednesday, but while sitting in the gallery after the plea, he made a remark about the process, which was relayed to Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel by a staffer.
She voided the plea and revoked his bond while the man's attorney, James Sheets, was not present.
During a hearing today, the judge agreed to accept the plea deal again, saying she took his comments last week to mean he wanted to withdraw his plea. The judge said she decided to void the plea deal last week without Sheets present after her staff unsuccessfully tried to contact him.
Burgwin told the judge today that he understood the deal and agreed to it.
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