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Published On: Fri, Jan 25th, 2013

Linda Weston, Philly woman facing federal charges for keeping disabled adults chained in dungeon to collect their checks

Federal hate crime charges are being added to the murder allegations for a Philadelphia woman who is accused of chaining mentally disabled adults in basement dungeons forcing some into prostitution all for their disability checks.

Linda Weston, 52, is accused of locking six disabled adults and four children like “zoo animals” in Philadelphia over a 10-year-period was additionally indicted on Wednesday with federal charges including kidnapping and forced human labor.

Linda Weston

Linda Weston

Shocking does not begin to describe the criminal allegations in this case, where victims were tied up and confined like zoo animals and treated like property akin to slaves,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said.

The case came to light in October 2011 after a landlord discovered four malnourished victims locked in the13-by-7 foot pitch-black room in the basement of a Philadelphia apartment building. One of them was chained to a boiler.

Weston has been jailed since then and pleaded not guilty to related state charges. Her lawyer, George Yacoubian, said Wednesday that federal prosecutors had “over-reached for effect” with the new charges and that Weston maintains her innocence.

The 150-page grand jury indictment describes Weston as the ringleader of a “family” that included her daughter and three men who prosecutors say helped control and subjugate the victims.

Weston used “cunning, trickery, force and coercion” to get mentally disabled people to designate her as their caretaker, allowing her to illegally collect about $212,000 in Social Security payments over 10 years, Memeger said.

In all, authorities allege six disabled adults and four children were held captive in “subhuman” conditions in basements, attics and closets at various times between 2001 and 2011.

The victims were often drugged, deprived of food and medical care, and forced to use buckets for bathrooms, officials said.

Weston forced two female victims into prostitution to earn more money for the family when they lived in Texas and Florida, authorities said.

Two other women died while living with Weston, leading to murder charges that make her eligible for the death penalty.

Others charged in the indictment unsealed Wednesday are Weston’s daughter, Jean McIntosh, 33, of Philadelphia; Gregory Thomas Sr., 49, of Philadelphia; Eddie Wright, 52, of Killeen, Texas; and Nicklaus Woodard, 26, of West Palm Beach, Fla.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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