A Philadelphia woman will serve life in prison after she pleaded guilty to kidnapping mentally disabled adults and keeping them in dark basements.
Linda Weston was sentenced to 80 years in prison for her crimes, which include starving at least two of her victims to death. She pleaded guilty to 196 charges against her. These include murder, drugging, beating and torturing her victims, and forcing them to sign over their Social Security disability checks – in September.
According to People, some of the other charges Weston pleaded guilty to were racketeering conspiracy, forced human labor, multiple counts of murder in aid of racketeering, hate crime, violent crime in aid of racketeering, sex trafficking, kidnapping, theft of government funds, wire fraud, mail fraud, use of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime and false statements.
Weston took care of several disabled people between the years of 2001 and 2011. She was taken into custody after a man was found chained to a boiler during a property inspection. Her landlord, who found the man, subsequently called Philadelphia police. When she was arrested in October 2011, four people were discovered in Weston’s basement, as reported by ABC News. One of these captives was Weston’s niece, Beatrice (19), who was malnourished with cuts and injuries when she was found.
Court documents reveal that Weston’s victims were mentally disabled people estranged from their families. Befriending them, she offered them a place to stay. When they moved in, she inflicted torture, confining them to dark basements and drugging and sedating them by spiking their food and drinks. Prosecutors said that if the captives refused, Weston, who acted along with other co-conspirators, would inflict punishment on the victims by “slapping, punching, kicking, stabbing, burning and hitting them with closed hands, belts, sticks, bats and hammers or other objects, including the butt of a pistol.”
What Weston and her partners in crime did was “pure evil,” police commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
Weston’s crimes occurred in Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Florida. Two of her co-conspirators who have pleaded guilty include her daughter, Jean McIntosh, and Eddie Wright; while two others, Gregory Thomas Sr. and Nicklaus Woodard, are awaiting trial.
She was ordered to make a restitution of $273,463 for her crimes.
The statement from Jacobs highlighted the case of a woman who was kept kidnapped in the Virginia home in 2008. The statement said that the woman was “beaten when she tried to escape or when she begged for food and never received medical attention for any of her injuries,” and that she was kept confined “inside a kitchen cabinet and an attic for several months and her body was also moved to a bedroom by Weston’s victims.”