Philadelphia "Basement of Horrors": Feds pursue charges in alleged starvation, lockup of mentally disabled

Linda Ann Weston is one of three people charged following the discovery of four malnourished mentally disabled adults chained to a boiler in a locked northeast Philadelphia basement room that was too small for an adult to stand up straight and also reeked of waste from the buckets they used to relieve themselves, police said Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. Seen Here: Suspect Linda Ann Weston AP Photo/Philadelphia Police Department

Linda Weston
File, AP Photo

(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA - Prosecutors will step aside as federal authorities pursue charges against a paroled killer and other members accused of kidnapping mentally disabled adults in a scheme to steal their disability checks.

Pictures: Mentally disabled locked in Philadelphia basement

City prosecutors dropped charges against 52-year-old Linda Weston, her daughter and two others on Monday, allowing federal prosecutors to pursue charges that include hate crimes and two murder counts.

The defendants are due in federal court Monday afternoon for a brief appearance. A fifth defendant has been added to the case.

Authorities said they rescued five disabled adults from a locked Philadelphia basement in late 2011, who suffered beatings and starvation over the years. Police also removed eight juveniles from Weston's care.

Weston already served time for the starvation death of a man she locked in her Philadelphia apartment nearly three decades ago.

Others charged in the case are Weston's daughter, 33-year-old Jean McIntosh, 49-year-old Gregory Thomas Sr., 52-year-old Eddie Wright, and 26-year-old Nicklaus Woodard.

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