Philadelphia

Judge Drops Charges Against Suspects in Kidnapping of Elderly Vet and Wife

Charges have been dismissed against two people who were arrested in connection to the kidnapping of an elderly Korean War veteran and his wife a few months ago.

A judge dropped the charges against Vashti Williams, 23, and Damon Cornish, 24, during a preliminary hearing Tuesday due to lack of evidence.

Prosecutors say three women abducted 86-year-old George Saunders and his 55-year-old wife Priscilla Jones back on April 23 while they were walking down Pennsgrove Street in West Philadelphia. The couple told police they were thrown into a van and driven to the TD Bank at 4th and Market streets in Old City to open a checking account.

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Saunders, a Korean War veteran, said he was forced to deposit $600 into the new account and was given a new debit card on the spot. The couple told police they were eventually set free and were not harmed and that their abductors used the debit card to rent two cars.

On April 25, police used GPS to track down the rental cars. They then arrested Williams and Cornish, who were charged with robbery, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and other related offenses. Three other people were taken into custody in connection to the incident though they were not officially charged. 

The Philadelphia Daily News reports Saunders and Jones did not testify Tuesday. Assistant District Attorney Emily Rodriguez told the Daily News Saunders is “elderly and infirm,” while his wife is “also unwell.” An assigned Southwest Detective was Rodriguez’s only witness Tuesday and wasn’t allowed to testify about what the victims sad, if they identified anyone in a photo array or what Williams said in her police statement, the Daily News Reports 

Rodriguez said she plans to refile the charges against Williams and Cornish, according to the Daily News. 

Williams is expected to be released from a city jail while Cornish was already out on bail. 

 
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