Judge Orders Evaluation for Basement 'Ringleader'

A judge has ordered that Linda Ann Weston, accused of holding four mentally disabled people captive, to be mentally evaluated.

By PATRICK WALTERS
|  Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011  |  Updated 1:49 PM EDT
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Basement of Terror: Alleged Ringleader's Niece Suffered

Philadelphia Police

Linda Ann Weston, 51, is the main suspect in the case of four mentally disabled adults found locked in a Philly basement, police say. Weston spent eight years in prison for keeping 25-year-old Bernardo Ramos in the closet of her North Philadelphia apartment until he starved to death, reports say.

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Inside the Tacony 'Dungeon'

NBC10's Rosemary Connors goes inside the Tacony apartment building basement where four mentally challenged adults were held captive.

Basement of Terror: Alleged Ringleader's Niece Suffered

New details in the case of four mentally disabled adults held captive in Tacony. A news conference held today released even more shocking details about the scam.
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A Philadelphia judge has ordered a mental health evaluation of the alleged ringleader in what authorities describe as a Social Security fraud scheme in which mentally disabled victims were held captive in a squalid basement.

Fifty-one-year-old Linda Weston and three others were charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and other offenses after her landlord stumbled on the four victims in a foul-smelling boiler room last month. Authorities say the defendants locked the victims in a basement and wrested control of their disability checks.

On Wednesday, Municipal Judge Martha Neifeld granted the request of Weston's attorney, George Yacoubian, for a mental health examination of his client. Yacoubian says competency could be an issue.

Neifeld also granted a partial gag order in the case. Prosecutors are declining to comment.

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