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Guilty Plea From 1 Defendant in Phila. 'Basement of Horrors' Case

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There was a surprise guilty plea today in the so-called "Basement of Horrors" murder case.

Jean McIntosh, daughter of the alleged family and criminal leader, has pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit racketeering, hate crimes against the disabled, and kidnapping resulting in death.

Federal authorities allege that clan leader Linda Weston and others, including her daughter, targeted the mentally challenged, abused them, and stole their benefits over a decade-long period.

Two of the victims died.

Today, McIntosh pleaded guilty to kidnapping in connection with the death of a woman identified only as "ML."

According to a government change-of-plea memo, Weston and McIntosh beat ML with fists, sticks, hammers, and bats, and children were permitted to beat her as well, often just for sport.

Authorities say she endured this and much more for eight years before she died.

The record of the guilty plea hearing is under seal by the court, and McIntosh's attorney would not comment on whether McIntosh is cooperating with authorities but indicated they hope to bring this case to resolution for McIntosh, who currently faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.

Weston and three others still awaiting trial have pleaded not guilty.


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