Defendant in Philadelphia Dungeon Case Granted Mental Health Evaluation

Linda Weston’s criminal past brings up questions of competency, her lawyer says.

Posted: 11/02/2011 08:11 PM EDT

(Photo: AP)

A lawyer representing Linda Weston, who was arrested in the notorious Philadelphia dungeon case, says her checkered criminal past brings up questions as to whether she is mentally competent to stand trial, according to NBC Philadelphia.

 

Weston, 51, is the alleged ringleader in the horrific Social Security fraud case that emerged in October, when four mentally disabled adults were found chained inside a foul-smelling basement boiler room in Philadelphia. Investigators believe Weston and her three accomplices held their victims captive, abused them and stole their disability checks.

 

A judge granted Weston a mental health examination on Wednesday after her attorney, George Yacoubian Jr., argued that issues involving mental retardation and low IQ came up during a previous case involving Weston nearly 30 years ago. At the request of prosecutors, the judge also granted a partial gag order.

 

Weston was charged in 1983 for killing her sister’s boyfriend by locking him in a closet for weeks until he died of starvation. She was found incompetent to stand trial and later pleaded guilty to a murder charge in 1985. She served nearly four years in prison.

 

A preliminary hearing on the current charges has been set for Dec. 19. Yacoubian said Wednesday the mental health examination would likely have to be conducted within 30 days of that hearing.

 

Weston and three other defendants, including Weston's daughter, Jean McIntosh, 32, face a laundry list of charges including criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault and kidnapping. None has entered a plea.

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