Philadelphia’s Top 4 court cases
The Scruggs sentencing
Even though Rasheed Scruggs unexpectedly pleaded guilty to the ambush-style slaying of police Officer John Pawlowski, the jury still had to decide whether to sentence him to life without parole or death.
They heard the mother of two of Scruggs’ children say, “Everyone deserves to have a father.”
They heard Pawlowski’s widow Kimberly — who was pregnant when her husband was slain — say, “Baby Johnny will never be kissed or hugged by his father. He’ll never know him.”
The jurors couldn’t agree, so Scruggs got life.
The faith healing trial
In a case pitting religion versus science, Herbert and Catherine Schaible were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the bacterial-pneumonia death of their 2-year-old son Kent. Ailing for up to two weeks, they didn’t take Kent to see a doctor, choosing to rely on “faith healing” to fight “the Devil.” The Schaibles, who have six children, face sentencing in February.
The Parkway Hit-and-Run
Nick Hasselback was warned to slow his speeding car down, but didn’t, and nearly killed Temple law student Tony Foltz before fleeing and trying to hide his car behind an East Falls apartment. He ultimately pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and will start a three- to six-year prison stint Jan. 3. “I try not to be bitter or hateful,” Foltz testified at sentencing, “but I haven’t had much luck.”
A bill to increase hit-and-run penalties has stalled in the state Senate amid concerns of crowded prisons.
The 44-Year-Old Murder
William Barnes, aka the East Germantown Cowboy, shot police officer Walter Barclay during a botched 1966 robbery. The shooter ended up in prison; the victim ended up in a wheelchair. When Barclay died in 2007 from a urinary tract infection, the elderly Barnes was re-arrested. After a jury cleared him in May, Barnes thanked jurors and bellowed to supporters, “I love ya’s all.” He remains in prison for parole violations discovered during the arrest.