Police and Fire

Police: New Castle Man Caught After Extended Chase from Ellwood to Zelienople

A New Castle man was apprehended by Ellwood City police after an extended car chase Saturday night from Ellwood to the Zelienople Airport. Wesley Jay Cox, 34, of New Castle, was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, fleeing police, reckless endangerment, accident causing damage to property, driving while suspended and reckless driving. The incident began around 9 p.m. on April 16 when an officer observed a Nissan Altima traveling in the vicinity of Plum Way and Spring Avenue. Because of reports of narcotics activity in the area, the officer followed the vehicle and ran a…


Platt Found Guilty

After 11 hours of deliberation over Wednesday and Thursday, the jury found defendant Leon Platt guilty of third-degree murder. Platt, 28, of Rochester, is accused of murdering Richard Hogue, 28, just after 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2013 in an apartment on 411 Loop St. in Ellwood City. Lawrence County Judge J. Craig Cox is hearing the case, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Minett is prosecuting and defense attorney John Bongivengo is representing Platt. Although the prosecution pushed for a first-degree murder charge, the jury ultimately decided on third-degree. Per Pennsylvania law, murders in the third-degree are committed with malice but…


Homicide Trial: Prosecution’s Primary Witness

[This is Part 3 in a series covering the homicide trial of Leon Platt. Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.] Update April 14, 8:30 a.m.: The defense called no witnesses and the jury began deliberations yesterday afternoon. They will reconvene today. Platt, 28, of Rochester, is accused of murdering Richard Hogue, 28, just after 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2013 in an apartment on 411 Loop St. in Ellwood City. Lawrence County Judge J. Craig Cox is hearing the case, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Minett is prosecuting and defense attorney John Bongivengo is representing Platt. On…


Homicide Trial: Prosecution Rests Case

[This is Part 1 in a series covering the homicide trial of Leon Platt. Parts 2 and 3 can be found here and here.] After six days and over two dozen witnesses, the prosecution rested its case yesterday afternoon in the murder trial of defendant Leon Platt. Platt, 28, of Rochester, is accused of murdering Richard Hogue, 28, just after 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2013 in an apartment on 411 Loop St. in Ellwood City. It’s the first murder trial in Ellwood City since 1980. Lawrence County Judge J. Craig Cox is hearing the case before a jury of…


Homicide Trial: Prosecution Witnesses

[This is Part 2 in a series covering the homicide trial of Leon Platt. Parts 1 and 3 can be found here and here.] After six days of testimony and over two dozen witnesses, the prosecution rested its case in the trial of Leon Platt. Platt, 28, of Rochester, is accused of murdering Richard Hogue, 28, just after 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2013 in an apartment on 411 Loop St. in Ellwood City. It’s the first murder trial in Ellwood City since 1980. Lawrence County Judge J. Craig Cox is hearing the case before a jury of seven men…


Police: Aggravated Assault with a Knife

Women Assaults Man with Knife Devon Rand Crocker, 23, of Ellwood City, was accused of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children for an incident on April 3. According to the criminal complaint, officers responded to a domestic situation on Franklin Avenue at approximately 7:30 p.m. Investigating officers made contact with the victim, Crocker’s boyfriend, in the hallway of a second floor apartment. He reported that following a verbal altercation lasting several hours, Crocker attacked her mother and him with a knife. The victim was able to disarm Crocker, but was bitten repeatedly. These actions occurred in the presence…


Police: Simple Assault During Easter Dinner

Simple Assault on Easter According to the criminal complaint, on March 27, police responded to a domestic dispute on Possum Hollow Road in New Beaver Borough. The accused, Candace Lane Freed, 56, got into an argument with the victim, her boyfriend. The argument escalated until it erupted into physical violence. Freed struck the victim several times around his head and neck. This fight would end up causing part of their Easter Dinner to fall on the ground. Freed was charged with simple assault and harassment. Intoxicated Man Waits for Cheeseburger that Was Never Ordered According to the criminal complaint, investigating…


Trial of Man Accused in Ellwood City Murder Case Begins Today

Update: The trial was post-postponed until Monday because a juror fell ill. The trial of a man accused of a November 2013 homicide in Ellwood City is scheduled to begin today. Leon J. Platt, 28, of Rochester, is charged with the murder of Richard Hogue, of Enon Valley, at a residence on Loop Street in Ellwood City. Judge J. Craig Cox will preside over the trial. According to previous EllwoodCity.org articles, Hogue, Platt and several others were in an apartment on 411 Loop St. on the morning of Nov. 16 when Platt fatally shot Hogue. A prosecution witness, Taylor Foley,…


Ellwood City Mother and Son Charged with Dealing Cocaine

The Lawrence County Drug Task Force recently arrested an Ellwood City mother and son cocaine-dealing duo. Michael Mario Viccari, 26, and Darlene Cragle, 57, both of Ellwood City, were arraigned on Tuesday by Magistrate Jerry Cartwright following a several month investigation. Police were informed the duo was dealing drugs from 216 Buckeye Way. In a pre-planned operation on Oct. 15, Viccari sold 2.3 grams of cocaine for $80 to an informant. Again, on January 13, an informant was sent with $80 to purchase cocaine from Viccari. However, as Vicarri wasn’t home, Cragle made the exchange. Both were placed in the…


Police: Woman Assaults Woman after Extended Argument

Woman Assaults Woman According to the criminal complaint, on Thursday, March 17, at 4 a.m. , officers were dispatched to a Fifth Street apartment for a domestic disturbance. When the officers arrived they could hear screaming coming from the upstairs apartment. Officers entered the apartment and made contact with the victim and the defendant, Melissa Star Sabo, 35. When questioned, Sabo stated that they merely arguing. However, the victim stated that Sabo had harassed and threatened her. She also said that Sabo had  slammed her by the neck onto the bed and began choking her. The victim stated that she…