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PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A suburban Pittsburgh man accused of trying to sell more than two pounds of cocaine valued at $110,000 to an undercover officer, and then leading an assistant district attorney on a high-speed chase, is seeking dismissal of the case.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/1HJ11Ey ) reports that 44-year-old Semori Wilson of McClellandtown thinks his charges should be dropped because the only witness in his case is a former Connellsville police officer currently under indictment for a separate incident.

Wilson was charged with possession, possession with intent to deliver and fleeing or attempting to elude police in October 2009. According to the criminal complaint, former Officer Ryan Reese was undercover and arranged to buy cocaine from Wilson. Wilson had left a car and the cocaine in a South Union mall parking lot. Later, he and another man returned in a different car to retrieve the cocaine. Police took the other man into custody but Wilson got away in the car.

An assistant district attorney followed Wilson in a drug task force vehicle but the chase ended near Uniontown.

Police valued the cocaine at $36,000 if it were sold as a single package. Former District Attorney Nancy Vernon said at the time it had a value of $110,000 if broken down for street sales.

Reese resigned in December after being accused of having had sexual contact with a teenager in exchange for not filing drug charges against her.

Soon after, District Attorney Jack Heneks began dropping criminal cases in which Reese was the only witness.

“Ryan Reese is the main witness in this case. It was his investigation. He is the only one who can allegedly place the defendant in the blue Lincoln Aviator where the drugs were allegedly found. He is the only officer who dealt with the confidential informant,” said Paul Gettleman, Wilson’s attorney. “Without Reese, the commonwealth has no evidence that Mr. Wilson was involved in a drug transaction.”

Wilson’s case was first heard in 2012, but ended in a mistrial. It was to be retried in April but was delayed when Gettleman filed the motion seeking to dismiss the case.

Heneks could not be reached for comment. A hearing on Wilson’s petition is scheduled for Wednesday.


Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com

Pennsylvania’s largest private employer offers buyouts

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/1FBYiJz ) reports that the western Pennsylvania nonprofit is citing slowing demand for its medical services.

UPMC said Tuesday that it was offering voluntary severance to employees who are 60 or older and have at least 10 years of service. The offer includes medical and dental benefits and a one-time cash payment.

UPMC, which operates 22 hospitals in western Pennsylvania, is the state’s largest private employer with about 62,000 workers. It is facing stepped-up competition from Highmark, which recently acquired the seven-hospital Allegheny Health Network and owns the state’s biggest health insurer. UPMC also owns the second-largest health insurance company in the region.


Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com


Pittsburgh police bust 2 women in motel prostitution sting

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Pittsburgh police say two women were offering prostitution services at two motels in an online ad.

Police arrested 44-year-old Sherry Lynn Lewis, of Pittsburgh, and 20-year-old Lisa Taylor, of North Charleston, South Carolina, after an officer answered their ad Saturday titled “Sunshine Back Again, Don’t Miss Out.”

Police say they had received complaints of prostitution at two motels and that an officer was instructed to drive to one of them when he called a number listed in the ad. He was then told to drive to the second hotel where Taylor allegedly offered to perform a sex act for $200.

Police say Lewis was arrested when she walked into the room a short time later. They say she was working in a room next door.

Online court records don’t list attorneys for the women.




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