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Briefs: Calif. woman sentenced in $1M scheme

| Friday, July 29, 2005

A California woman has been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh for her role in a national conspiracy to obtain nearly $1 million in goods and illegal cash advances through the use of unauthorized or stolen credit and identification cards.

Tangelar Houston, 28, of Hayward, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond to two years and three months in prison and then five years' supervised release for her conviction on bank fraud. She is one of 19 people accused in the scheme.

Houston and two other California residents -- Veronica Henderson, 30, and Marlowe West, 29, both of Oakland -- brought the scheme to Western Pennsylvania, federal prosecutors said. Henderson and West were convicted and sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

Hill District 'National Night Out' planned for Tuesday

The Dinwiddie Community Alliance is sponsoring the Hill District's "National Night Out" on Tuesday -- a time to meet neighbors and foster a cooperative approach with police, fire and emergency personnel to eliminate crime and drugs in the community.

The festivities will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Hill House Association, 1835 Centre Ave. There will be a balloon sculptor, face painter, caricature artist, free refreshments, bingo and other activities. For more information, call 412-471-7709.

Oakland Man indicted on federal drug, gun charges

An Oakland man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh this week on charges of violating federal drug and firearms laws. Rodney Hanton, 27, of Aliquippa Street, was accused of possessing with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana and carrying a .40 caliber pistol while involved in drug trafficking on July 28, 2004, according to U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan's office.

If convicted, Hanton would face a mandatory sentence of at least five years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million.

Shadyside Garfield man waives hearing in rape case

A Garfield man waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court after he was accused of abducting an Indian tourist from a sidewalk in Shadyside, raping her and throwing her out of a van in Garfield.

Pittsburgh detectives said DNA test results identify suspect Calvin Henderson, 57, as the woman's attacker. He remains in the Allegheny County Jail on two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and additional charges of robbery involving injury, inflicting bodily harm, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, and indecent assault.

Henderson is a convicted sexual offender. His stepson, Robert Hawkins Jr., 42, also of Garfield, was arrested four days later in connection with the June 19 assault. As for the victim, Detective Brian Johnson said, "there are some cultural issues, being from India. She's very shaken and very upset."

North Side Homeless man guilty of manslaughter

An Allegheny County judge on Wednesday convicted a homeless man of voluntary manslaughter for fatally stabbing a romantic rival on the North Side.

John Gabriel Colon, 37, faces a maximum prison term of 10 to 20 years when he is sentenced by Common Pleas Judge John A. Zottola on Oct. 25.

Wesley MacNeil, 38, of Brighton Heights, identified Colon as the man who stabbed him on Cedar Avenue on Nov. 7. Colon had been dating MacNeil's former girlfriend, police said. MacNeil died four days later.

West

North Fayette Dementia patient still missing

North Fayette police are asking the public to be on the lookout for a dementia patient who left the Woodland Manor Personal Care Home in North Fayette earlier this week and might have ventured to the Hill District or the Fineview section of Pittsburgh.

John Henry Bowman, 57, a resident at Woodland, told a friend July 21 that he was taking a bus to the Hill District and has not been heard from since, police said Wednesday.

Although Bowman is free to come and go as he wishes, he is an insulin-dependent diabetic who left his residence without the drug, police said. He is 5 feet, 5 inches, tall and has no known living relatives. Anyone with information is asked to call the North Fayette police at 412-787-8900.

East

Penn Hills Convict gets prison time in heroin conspiracy

A Penn Hills man has been sentenced in federal court in Pittsburgh to 13 years and 10 months in prison on his conviction on violating the federal drug and firearms laws.

Darnell Bland, 21, of Laurie Drive, conspired with others to distribute heroin from August 2003 to June 2004, according to U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan's office. During that time, Bland used and possessed firearms as part of his drug-trafficking activities, federal prosecutors said.

Alleged dealer indicted on 7 federal counts

A Penn Hills man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh this week on seven counts of violating federal drug and gun laws.

Howard Kelley, 19, of Sylvania Avenue, is accused of distributing crack cocaine on three separate occasions in April and May, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan's office said. Kelley also is accused of possessing more than 50 grams of crack on June 21, along with a rifle, two sawed-off shotguns and two handguns, one of which had an obliterated serial number.

If convicted, Kelley could face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of $5.75 million.

Region

Baden Accused faces 40 years, $2M fine in drug case

A Baden man was indicted this week by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of violating federal drug laws.

Thomas Edward Throckmorton, 60, of Ridge Road Extension, is accused of possessing with the intent to distribute more than 220 pounds of marijuana on July 18, according to U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan's office. If convicted, Throckmorton could face up to 40 years in prison and a fine of $2 million.

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