Suspect in Philadelphia captive case "shocked" by charges

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2011 3:18 PM
Suspect in Philadelphia captive case "shocked" by charges

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A woman who is among those accused of locking four mentally challenged adults in a Philadelphia basement dungeon is shocked to be facing criminal charges, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

Jean McIntosh, who lived in an apartment above the furnace room where the four victims were discovered earlier this month including one chained to an old furnace, was accused of a slew of charges including kidnapping and assault.

McIntosh's attorney Michael Graves told reporters his client, the 32-year-old daughter of suspected ringleader Linda Ann Weston, was feeling "more than anything shock and surprise at the situation where she's been charged," he said.

A building landlord found the malnourished captives, each with the mental capacity of a 10-year-old child, huddling in the filthy, cramped basement earlier this month during a routine check of the building.

Weston, 51, and McIntosh, as well as Gregory Thomas, 47, and Eddie Wright, 50, have been arrested in the case in what is believed to be a multi-state scheme to steal and cash the captives' Social Security checks.

McIntosh is being held on $1 million bail, while the other three defendants are being held on $2.5 million bail each.

A preliminary hearing date for McIntosh was set for December, the same day her mother and the two accused men have hearings scheduled.

Weston's attorney said on Monday he may seek a hearing to determine if his client, who was once diagnosed as mentally retarded and schizophrenic, was competent to stand trial. He described her as lethargic and fatigued after a jail visit.

Graves said he did not intend to seek a competency determination for McIntosh.

"She understands the charges," he said.

Several children have been taken into protective custody in the case, two of whom are believed to be children of McIntosh, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)