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September 09, 2015

Ringleader pleads guilty in Tacony dungeon case

Linda Weston, the woman who allegedly locked four adults in a Tacony basement dungeon as part of a scheme to kidnap and hold mentally disabled victims hostage and steal their Social Security disability checks, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of murder and several counts of kidnapping, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

Weston, 55, also pleaded guilty in federal court to hate crimes and other offenses. She had changed her plea from not guilty.

Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty, the Daily News reported.

U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia M. Rufe scheduled a sentencing hearing for Nov. 5, 2015. Weston faces life in prison plus 80 years consecutive, restitution, fines, supervised release, and special assessments.

Weston was arrested in October 2011 when police discovered four victims locked in the dank basement of a Longshore Avenue apartment building. One of the mentally disabled adults was chained to a boiler.

The shocking discovery made headlines around the world.

In addition to Weston, her boyfriend at the time, another man and her daughter were also arrested.

Federal authorities indicted all four – plus a fifth man, from Florida – in January 2013.

Weston individually faced murder charges, one for the death of Donna Spadea, 59, in a Northeast Philadelphia apartment in June 2005, and another for the death of Maxine Lee, 39, a Philadelphia native, in Norfolk, Virginia, in November 2008.

Read the full story in the Daily News.