Stowe Township man in jail charged with beating his pregnant girlfriend

By Steve Pope | September 30, 2018

Late Friday night Stowe Township Police arrested a man who they allege beat his pregnant girlfriend in front of her son.

Police allege in a criminal complaint that Kymarr Freeman, 28, of Mckees Rocks, punched his girlfriend, who is seven months pregnant, several times in her stomach which caused her to lose her balance and fall.20180930_143328

Earlier in the evening the woman picked Freeman up in Downtown and “smelled alcohol on his person.” After driving him to their home in the 700 block of Overlook Place in Stowe Twp. the two started arguing, according to the complaint.

The woman told police she tried to leave in her car, but Freeman “shut her car off and forced her back inside.” As she attempted to run up the stairs “Freeman began to hit her repeatedly in the face with [her son] right beside her,” the complaint alleges.

A police officer wrote in the complaint that he “noticed several large bumps and visible bruising, her upper lip was also split on the inside.”

While Freeman was in a holding cell after being arrested he threatened to “beat officers up” and referred to them as “white crackers, Pigskins and honkies.”

Police say they also notified Freeman’s probation officer. According to online court records he is currently on probation for several theft charges.

Freeman faces a number of charges including aggravated assault to an unborn child, simple assault, ethnic intimidation, recklessly endangering another person and several other misdemeanors.

He is currently in the Allegheny County Jail after being unable to post a  $30,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 9.

Allegheny County sheriff’s deputies nab a most wanted fugitive and his girlfriend

By Amanda Klein | September 29, 2014

One of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office most wanted fugitives and his girlfriend were apprehended early Friday after deputies found the pair hiding in Munhall.

Sheriff’s deputies have been searching for D’ondre Kelly, 23, of Braddock, since July 3 when an arrest warrant was issued because he allegedly violated the terms of his probation/parole. He pled guilty in May, 2016 to robbing and beating a woman in September of 2015.

According to court documents in the case, Kelly assaulted the woman during an attempted robbery in an elevator at an apartment complex in Wilmerding.


The woman told police she had been heading down to the ground floor, when the elevator she was on stopped and Kelly entered.  Upon the door closing, Kelly asked the victim if she had any money, to which she responded “No.”  Kelly replied, “Well you better give me some money” and punched the victim in the left side of her face.

Over the past few days deputies obtained information that Kelly was staying in Munhall with his girlfriend, 29-year-old Cherri Barber.

Early Friday deputies surrounded Barber’s residence in the 1300 block of Martha Street. Deputies were able to view Kelly through a window and made entry into the home after he refused to answer the door. He was found hiding in the living room and arrested.

Barber was also arrested on a warrant for failing to appear for a Sept. 25 preliminary hearing. According to court documents in that case, Barber allegedly damaged and stole pieces of her sister’s boyfriend’s motorcycle on July 25 and was charged with theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief.

Both Barber and Kelly were transported to the Allegheny County Jail, where they are being held.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at

State trooper injured in Butler County crash

By Steve Pope | September 26, 2018

A state trooper was injured in an accident Wednesday while en route to a separate accident, according to state police.

The trooper who has not been identified, was traveling to an accident and had his lights and siren activated when he was struck by a tractor trailer truck near the intersection of North Duffy and New Castle Road at approximately 10:30 p.m,

Authorities say the trooper was not seriously injured and was taken to a nearby hospital and later released.

Police identified the driver of the truck as 40-year-old Keith Wheeler of Ohio. He was not injured in the crash.

State police continue to investigate the accident and thus far no charges have been filed against Wheeler.

Steve Pope can be contactedat


Pittsburgh judge finds father not guilty in infant son’s death

By Amanda Klein | September 26, 2018

Following a three day non-jury trial that concluded on Wednesday, the father of a 4-month-old infant was found not guilty in his death.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani said there was insufficient evidence to establish that 18-year-old De-John Johnson acted intentionally or recklessly in the death of his son Isaiah Brooks-Leonard in February of 2017.

Allegheny County Police homicide detectives alleged in a criminal complaint that Johnson and his mother, Teonita Askew, were alone with the child on Feb. 6, 2017, when the child went into cardiac arrest and later died after being taken to a hospital.

An autopsy revealed the child had bruising and scrapes on his face, right hip and ankles, and his upper lip was torn. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office ruled the infant died of asphyxiation due to smothering and the manner of death was homicide.

Testimony during the trial revealed the infant was fine around 12 a.m., but when Johnson woke up shortly after 3 a.m. the infant wasn’t breathing.

Prosecutors say that Johnson put a pacifier in the baby’s mouth and covered his mouth with his hand and suffocated the infant, and in doing so caused the injury to the infant’s lip.

The pathologist who performed the autopsy testified that the infant died of suffocation and the injuries to his face were caused by blunt force trauma. He also said it was unlikely they could have been caused by Johnson accidentally lying on the infant.

While a pathologist called by the defense agreed the child died as a result of being suffocated, he also testified he could not determine if it was intentional or not.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at









Two Pittsburgh women charged with attempting to smuggle over 28 pounds of cocaine into the U.S.

By Steve Pope | September 25, 2018

Federal prosecutors in the Virgin Islands have accused two Pittsburgh women with attempting to smuggle a sizeable amount of cocaine into the U.S.

Ngoc Nguyen, 21, and Fendi Brooks, 25, were arrested Tuesday by federal agents at the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, as they attempted to board a flight to Atlanta, Georgia.

Both women were charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 13 kilograms of cocaine and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.

Authorities allege in an affidavit that the two women were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers as they were proceeding through customs, after hearing them declare that they had 18 bottles of alcohol in their luggage.

Officers saw several “unknown masses” in a suitcase as it was passing through an x-ray machine and decided to examine the contents by opening up the luggage, the complaint said.

Authorities discovered 13 packages of a white powdery substance that field-tested for cocaine and that weighed over 28 pounds. Both women claimed ownership of the bag, the complaint said.

Both women are in jail pending a future court date and face not less than ten years and not more than life in prison and a fine of $10,000,000.00 on each count, if convicted.

Steve Pope can be contacted at


Medal of Valor awarded to six Allegheny Co. Jail employees

By Terri Hill | September 24, 2018

Six county jail officers were presented with the Medal of Valor during a ceremony Monday afternoon.

The Medal of Valor is given to jail employees who take courageous actions that set a standard of excellence for all Allegheny County Jail employees to strive to meet, according to Jail Warden Orlando Harper.

“In each case, these officers demonstrated care, dedication, pride, and honor in their work and showed courage in extraordinary circumstances. Their actions represent well the morals and values of this institution. I am thankful for their service, and proud to present them with this award recognizing their actions,” said Harper.

Officer Christopher Vojtas and Captain Michael Terry received the medal for actions they took on May 24 when an inmate threatened Officer Vojtas with a deadly weapon.

Officer Vojtas was able to deflect the weapon and activate an alarm, causing the inmate to retreat to his cell, where he bound his cellmate with torn bed linens and held him at knifepoint. Cpt. Terry talked the inmate into relinquishing his weapon. Because of the actions of Officer Vojtas and Cpt. Terry, the situation resulted in the inmate surrendering without any injuries to inmates or staff, according to Harper.

On July 24 Officer Tobias Coleman rushed to the aid of an employee of a CoGo’s convenience store in the Greenfield section of Pittsburgh, when a man attacked the employee with two machetes. Officer Coleman and another customer restrained the attacker until police arrived.

“The employee suffered stab wounds because of the attack, but without Officer Coleman’s actions, the encounter quickly could have become even more serious, if not deadly,” said Harper.

Officers Michael Marzano, Paul Romanelli and Sergeant Andrew Coulter were honored for their actions on July 27 during an attack by two inmates.

While conducting a routine cell search, Officer Marzano was injured in an attack by two inmates with deadly weapons.  Officer Paul Romanelli rushed to assist him and was also assaulted and wounded. Sgt. Coulter was able to lock down the pod and rush to help the injured officers.

One inmate fled his cell and attempted to discard a weapon. Sgt. Coulter subdued and held the inmate while also keeping other inmates from grabbing the weapon until other officers arrived. The other inmate was eventually subdued by Officer Marzano and Officer Romanelli.

Warden Harper said, “The actions of the three officers protected other officers from further assault and ended the incident quickly with the inmates back in confinement.”

“We know that working in a county jail is a difficult job and is one that’s not for everyone. It’s why we are grateful to the men and women who come in every day on behalf of our county residents,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

The jail administration was joined by county officials, and employees’ friends and family at the awards ceremony.

Terri Hill can be contacted at



Six injured, one seriously in Monday morning crash involving PAT bus

By Amanda Klein | September 24, 2018

An early Monday morning crash involving a Port Authority bus and an SUV sent six people to area hospitals and left the bus driver in critical condition.

The accident occurred shortly after 1 a.m. at the intersection of Bennet Street and North Dallas Avenue, in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh.

The SUV that was involved in Monday’s accident with a PAT Bus | Pittsburgh Public Safety photo

Pittsburgh EMS, Fire and Police, as well as Port Authority Police responded to the scene, according to a Pittsburgh Public Safety Department spokesman.

Emergency workers had to remove the bus driver using the Jaws of Life because of extensive front end damage to the bus.

The bus driver was taken to UPMC Mercy. The four bus passengers and the driver of the SUV were taken to UPMC Presbyterian. Two people sustained minor injuries and three were in moderate condition, according to the spokesman.

Pittsburgh Police Crash Investigation Unit is assisting the Port Authority in the investigation.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at