Cedarbrook teen guilty of murder of WWII vet
Feb 20, 2013 (The Philadelphia Inquirer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A Philadelphia jury has found a 19-year-old Cedarbrook woman guilty of second-degree murder for the 2010 robbery and shooting of an 87-year-old World War II veteran.
The Common Pleas Court jury of seven women and five men deliberated about two hours before returning the guilty verdicts against India Spellman in the Aug. 18, 2010 death of George Greaves.
The jury also found her guilty of the armed robbery of a woman pedestrian two hours before Greaves was shot.
Spellman, who twice rejected plea deals by the prosecutor, began fighting tears at the verdict as members of her family shrieked and ran from the courtroom.
Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart set sentencing for April 26. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb, who offerred Spellman a 20- to 40-year sentence if she pleaded guilty, said Spellman faces at least 30 years in prison under state law -- and possibly life.
Earlier today, defense attorney Harry R. Seay urged the jury to acquit Spellman.
Seay argued that the charges against Spellman were based on the statement of alleged accomplice Von Combs and that detectives framed Spellman to close the case.
Seay noted that Spellman -- who did not testify -- was working in a doughnut shop at the time of the 2010 robbery murder of George Greaves.
"So all of a sudden she's a gun moll, she's a gangster, she's carrying a pistol around and she's going to shoot somebody -- please!" Seay told the jury.
Lipscomb told the jury in his closing that Combs' statement implicating Spellman was corroborated by other witnesses including part's of Spellman's own statement to police.
Spellman is on trial for two crimes committed in Cedarbrook the afternoon of Aug. 18, 2010, allegedly with Combs, 14.
The first was the gunpoint robbery of Shirley Phillips in the 7700 block of Rugby Street. About two hours later, authorities allege, Spellman shot and killed George Greaves in an attempted robbery in the driveway of his house on Pickering Avenue at Phil-Ellena Street.
Combs was tried as a juvenile in 2011 and found guilty of second-degree murder. Now in a Western Pennsylvania juvenile facility, Combs testified for the prosecution that Spellman suggested the robberies. He said it was her gun and that she used it to threaten Phillips and kill Greaves.
Spellman's statement to police says Combs carried the 25-caliber pistol and shot Greaves.
Lipscomb noted that even Spellman, in her statement to detectives, said she was carrying the gun and allegedly gave it to Combs before the botched robbery of Greaves.
Lipscomb called the idea that Spellman would accede to Combs' request for the gun is unbelievable: "What 17-year-old girl is going to take orders from a 14-year-old boy "
Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, email@example.com, or @joeslobo on Twitter.
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