Big Beaver man accused of slashing a woman’s neck

Big Beaver man accused of slashing a woman’s neck

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Beaver County Times

Monday August 16, 2010 08:47 PM

BIG BEAVER — A Big Beaver man accused of slashing a woman’s neck with a utility knife early Saturday told his father that the woman recited a Bible verse after a long night of drinking and asked him to kill her, according to a criminal complaint.

“So I did,” said Thomas Heaton, 30, of 110 Peach Alley. 

The deep wound extending from just below Mary Jo Cook’s right ear to the midline of her neck was not fatal. Cook, 41, of 401 15th St., New Brighton, was treated at Ellwood City Hospital and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Cook could not be reached for comment Monday.

Heaton remained in the Beaver County Jail Monday afternoon, charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment, but his attorney said his parents were expected to post his $50,000 bond.

Police reported that Cook and four other men, including Heaton’s brother, Joseph, 32, and Edward C. Britton, 24, had been drinking in the Koppel area from Friday night into Saturday morning before returning to the Heaton residence at Peach Alley.

They continued drinking there in an upstairs hall and in Joseph Heaton’s bedroom, where Thomas Heaton joined them.

Cook and Thomas Heaton continued drinking in the hall after Joseph Heaton and Britton retired for the night, according to the complaint.

Police found blood in the hall and believe Thomas Heaton slashed Cook there, the complaint said.

Britton told police that he was awakened by Cook screaming and found her in the hall with a large neck wound. He and Joseph Heaton attempted to tend to the wound, but Cook left the house after a short period and was found walking by an unidentified neighbor, who called police.

Meanwhile, Thomas Heaton had gone downstairs, where he washed in a bathroom and told his father, Samuel R. Heaton Jr., that he had slashed Cook’s neck at her request, according to the complaint. Police reported that he threw a red, folding Craftsman utility knife on the kitchen table while speaking with his father. 

He also told his father that police would be coming for him and he intended to wait for them, which he did.

Pittsburgh attorney Steven Townsend, who is representing Heaton, questioned the details in the criminal complaint. He said his client takes medication to control seizures caused by head injury he suffered in a traffic accident.

“I know it was very hectic when the police were there, and I’m not sure what was quoted in that affidavit was actually said,” Townsend said.

He said he had not yet spoken with his client, who is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday.

Judges are Starting to Deviate from the Draconian Guidelines

My client, Phillip Preda, was facing and the Government was arguing for a 70 month sentence.  Thankfully, the judge listened to the comments and testimony at the sentencing hearing and did the right thing….he reduced it by 28 months!!


By: J.D. Prose

Local men sentenced in Illinois on drug charges

Beaver County Times

Tuesday August 3, 2010 08:57 PM

Two brothers from Moon Township and five Beaver County residents have been sentenced in Illinois for working in a drug ring that moved more than two tons of marijuana from Mexico to Pittsburgh between 2002 and 2009.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney James Lewis of the Central District of Illinois, a federal judge on Friday sentenced Noah A. Landfried, 26, to life in prison and his brother Ross E. Landfried III, 28, to 20 years for leading the ring.

Prosecutors said the ring smuggled about 5,300 pounds of marijuana over seven years from the Mexican border with Arizona to the Pittsburgh area. The cases were prosecuted in Illinois because the ring used Interstate 80 to transport marijuana across that state.

The ring, according to a press release from Lewis’ office, used “numerous couriers in privately owned automobiles and residences along the I-80 corridor” in Illinois. Each load of marijuana weighed about 200 pounds, prosecutors said.

Both Landfrieds, who were charged in April 2009, pleaded guilty in March to leading the drug trafficking ring and admitted that their proceeds totaled about $1 million.

Five Beaver County men and one from nearby in Ohio also have been sentenced for participating in the ring, prosecutors said. They are: 

  • Victor J. Gaydos, 31, of Aliquippa, sentenced in April to 57 months in prison.
  • Dwayne W. Corrigan, 26, of Ambridge, sentenced Friday to five years in prison.
  • Philip S. Preda, 38, of Aliquippa, sentenced Friday to 42 months in prison.
  • Joshua W. Welling, 29, of Ambridge, sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.
  • Richard J. Bedalota Jr., 30, of Aliquippa, sentenced Friday to 57 months in prison.
  • Justin R. Seibert, 27, of East Liverpool, Ohio, sentenced in April to 41 months in prison.
  • Also, Frank J. Berardelli, 52, of Rochester, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30, and James E. White II, 36, of Rogers, Ohio, is to be sentenced Aug. 20.

Two other men, Daniel W. Keitel, 26, of Bellevue and Ronald J. Marusack Jr., 25, of Pittsburgh, have each been sentenced to 10 years in prison.