Man who was released from prison in May charged with sexually abusing his 6-year-old niece

By Steve Pope | August 17, 2018

A Mckees Rocks man who was released from prison in May after serving 28 years on a rape conviction because a judge ruled he had been wrongfully convicted, was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting his six-year-old niece.

Police allege in a criminal complaint that John Joseph Kunco, 53, sexually assaulted the child one night in her father’s home while she was laying “on a futon with Uncle John.”20180817_100735-1.jpg

The child was sleeping and woke up and saw Kunco inappropriately touching her. The child “kept asking him to stop, but he wouldn’t,” police wrote in the complaint.

Kunco is charged with aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children.

According to published media accounts and online court documents, Kunco was convicted of rape in 1991, in Westmoreland County where a woman said he repeatedly beat, tortured and sexually assaulted her.

During his trial, two dental experts testified that a bite mark left on the victim’s shoulder at the time of the attack was made by Kunco.

Kunco has maintained his innocence throughout the case. His girlfriend testified at his trial that he was with her the evening of the attack. Kunco’s former boss and his landlord also testified he spoke with Kunco on the phone “at the exact time of the attack,” a court filing said.

In November a three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court called into question the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict Kunco, when it ordered DNA testing on some of the evidence collected at the crime scene.

The Court also noted that the two dental experts were no longer willing to say the bite mark was made by Kunco, because of new technology.

In ordering the testing the Court said, “Due to the questionable nature of the Commonwealth’s evidence, we think it more likely than not that reasonable jurors would find [Kunco] not guilty if the DNA tests on the blanket, rape kit and [the victim’s] underwear/girdle are exculpatory.”

In May, Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Feliciana ordered Kunco’s release and a new trial after the additional testing failed to find his DNA on the items tested.

The prosecution has vowed to appeal the ruling and has until the end of August to do so.

Kunco remains in the Allegheny County Jail pending an Aug.28 preliminary hearing.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

 

 

 

Woman charged with raping 5-year-old boy, then posts video online

By Amanda Klein | August 15, 2018

Police have charged a Greensburg woman with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old boy and then posting a video of the act on social media.

According to a criminal complaint, Corby Jo Kinzey, 24, posted a video online last month that shows her having sex with the five-year-old, which was seen by the mother of one of Kinzey’s former boyfriends.

The filing alleges that the mother reported the matter to police on Tuesday, when she gave them a copy of the video after becoming concerned about the child’s welfare.

Police according to court documents, believe that Kinzey made the video earlier this month.

After obtaining a search warrant on Tuesday, police arrested Kinzey at her apartment around 10:00 p.m.  While she was being transported to the police station Kinzey said she was under arrest because of the video.  “It’s about the video,” Kinzey is alleged to have said.

Under questioning, Kinzey claimed a male in his 20s that was wearing a mask held a gun to her head made her have sex with the child, the complaint alleges.  Kinzey also told police the man threatened to kill her if she notified police.

The complaint said after a detective told her that he didn’t believe her account of what occurred, she started crying and eventually admitted to the sexual assault.

Kinzey was denied bail and is charged with a host of sex-related crimes including rape, rape of a child, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of minors and other offenses.

The child has temporarily been placed in the custody of a family member and Kinzey’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at amanda.klein@grantstreetnews.com

Jury finds former Pizza Milano manager not guilty in assault case

By Steve Pope | August 15, 2018

A jury on Wednesday found a former manager of a Pizza Milano restaurant not guilty of assaulting a woman during an altercation that was captured on a cell phone and went viral, which led to several protests outside the restaurant.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, police say on Jan. 12 Mahmut Yilmaz, 41, of Pittsburgh, refused to let Jade Martin, 34, of Pittsburgh, inside the Uptown restaurant to use the bathroom because she was informed earlier that day she wasn’t welcome there.

Police say in the complaint that Martin said she had been drinking earlier in the afternoon at a nearby bar and admitted she was, “highly intoxicated.”

Ms. Martin is seen in the video attempting to push past Mr. Yilmaz and then a struggle begins.

The video appears to show Mr. Yilmaz headbutt Ms. Martin during the incident, however, Mr. Yilmaz denies doing so saying, his head went forward only after his foot slipped.

At Mr. Yilmaz’s preliminary in March, Ms. Martin testified she had no memory of the struggle.

Mr. Yilmaz’s attorney insisted on showing the jury a much longer 22 minute video of the incident and argued that Ms. Martin was drunk, uncooperative and belligerent.

While she was charged with defiant tresspass and disorderly conduct, those charges were eventually dismissed.

Ms. Martin has filed a civil suit against the restaurant and Mr. Yilmaz and is seeking $5 million in punitive damages.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

 

 

 

 

Woman charged in the strangulation death of her boyfriend’s infant

By Amanda Klein | August 13, 2018

Allegheny County Police have charged a Clairton woman who has a violent criminal past, with the April 27 strangulation death of her boyfriend’s 23-month-old daughter.  The woman repeatedly Googled how to perform CPR for an hour after she strangled the infant to death, police say.

Deasha Ringgold, 21, is in the Allegheny County Jail awaiting her preliminary arraignment on homicide charges after surrendering to authorities Monday afternoon, after the learned an arrest warrant had been issued.

According to the criminal complaint, Ringgold was home alone with the toddler identified as Aubree Sherrell, from about 9:20 a.m. until her brother, Jayvon Williamson arrived home at 4 p.m.

Mr. Williamson told homicide detectives that he found “it odd that the door was locked” when he arrived home at 421 Glenn Street, Apt.3 in Clairton.

The complaint alleges that according to Mr. Williamson, Ringgold did not appear to be “distraught”  when she let him in the apartment.  After unlocking the door she immediately went upstairs to her bedroom.

A few minutes later Ringgold returned holding the infant and said, “Aubree had stopped breathing,” the complaint alleges. On the way to Jefferson Hospital Mr. Williamson “urged Deasha to perform CPR on Aubree,” police say.

Despite lifesaving efforts and being flown to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital, Aubree was pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m.

A review of Ringgold’s cell phone by police revealed that at 2:57 p.m. she conducted a Google search “how to wake up a knocked out person.” At 3:03 p.m. she Googled “shes not breathing what to do.” At 3:09 Ringgold searched “my friend got choked out what to do.” At 3:47 p.m. she Googled “how to do CPR on a baby” 13 times according to the complaint.

“After reviewing the data from the cell phone and Deasha’s account of what happened, the Google searches do not substantiate Deasha taking Aubree to the hospital immediately,” police wrote in the complaint.

According to online court records in 2014 when Ringgold was a juvenile, she was charged with three counts of attempted homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of recklessly endangering another person and robbery. All the charges except the attempted homicide, which were withdrawn, were waived for court at the preliminary hearing.  The final disposition of the charges is not available.

A date for her preliminary hearing has not been scheduled.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at amanda.klein@grantstreetnews.com

Hill District man charged in Bedford Dwellings shooting

By Steve Pope | August  13, 2018

A Hill District resident is in jail after a police officer observed him shoot another man and arrested him after a brief foot chase.

Lamont Pendleton, 40, faces attempted homicide and aggravated assault charges in connection with the early Monday morning shooting of Antwon Jones in the Bedford Dwellings neighborhood.

A Pittsburgh Police detective alleged in a criminal complaint that Zone 2 officers while on patrol, observed Pendleton shoot Mr. Jones in the 2400 block of Bedford Avenue at approximately 12:35 a.m.

The officer, Ed Hawthorne, heard gunshots and observed Pendleton firing shots at Mr. Jones, the complaint alleges.

Officer Hawthorne drew his gun and ordered Pendleton to drop his, which he refused and fled on foot.  After a brief foot chase, the complaint said, Pendleton was arrested on Bedford Avenue.

Back up officers arrived and located Mr. Jones laying on the ground at Bedford Avenue and Somers Drive suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Paramedics transported him to a hospital in critical condition. His condition has since been upgraded to stable.

Police say that a gun was not found on Pendleton when he was arrested.

Pendleton is currently lodged in the Allegheny County Jail and faces a preliminary hearing on Aug. 21.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

 

Police: Woman called 911 close to 80 times in three months

By Steve Pope | August 12, 2018

A McKees Rocks woman is alleged in a criminal complaint to having called 911 operators close to 80 times since April 27, claiming someone is stealing her mail, she is being followed, someone is putting drugs in her apartment and numerous other complaints.

In a criminal complaint  filed on August 3, police charged Corinna Scheffer, 39, with disorderly conduct and misusing the 911 system. This is the third time since July 23, police have charged her with making unwarranted calls to 911.

Police allege in the complaint that Scheffer has called 911 78 times, including 36 times in July since she moved to McKees Rocks in late April.

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August 3rd police affidavit.

Scheffer called 911 twice in April; 12 times in May; 21 times in June and seven times as of Aug. 3.

A police officer wrote in the Aug. 3 complaint that Scheffer has been “advised on numerous occasions about her misuse of the 911 system.”

The reasons that Scheffer has called 911 include, “theft calls, people putting drugs in her apartment, someone having access to her phone, to her apartment being haunted,” the complaint alleges.

A preliminary hearing on three of the cases is scheduled for September 11.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murder suspect arrested after SWAT standoff

By Steve Pope | August 9, 2018

Pittsburgh police arrested a man late Wednesday after a standoff that lasted several hours with a SWAT team and charged him with homicide in connection with a shooting that occured around 12:45 p.m. on Brownsville Road.

A Pittsburgh homicide detective alleged in a criminal complaint that Earl Jackson, 32, of Pittsburgh, argued with the victim identified as Tamon Hatchin and then shot him three times with a 9mm Glock handgun.

A witness, according to police, was speaking with Mr. Hatchin at the corner of Marland Street and Brownsville Road when Jackson pulled up in a blue SUV.

The unnamed witness said that Mr. Hatchin told him he didn’t know Jackson. Moments later after a brief argument, Jackson retrieved the handgun from his waist and shot Mr. Hatchin.

After paramedics transported him to Mercy Hospital, Mr. Hatchin was pronounced dead at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Around 7:45 p.m. police acting on a tip located Jackson at a home in the 200 block of Steuben Street and made several unsuccessful attempts to communicate with him and then requested a SWAT team and a crisis negotiator respond.

Shortly after 11 p.m. after repeated efforts urging Mr. Jackson to surrender, the Pittsburgh SWAT team entered the home and took Mr. Jackson into custody.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 22. He faces one count of criminal homicide as well as weapons charges.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com