TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR APRIL 8TH, 2022

Three boys that had escaped from George Junior Republic in Mercer County were arrested in New Castle yesterday. New Castle City Police were notified by State Police that the three may be in the New Castle area. WKBN-TV reports officers received information that the juveniles were at a residence on the city’s east side. They were located, and after a brief chase, two of them were taken into custody. The third was arrested a short time later. All three will be taken back to George Junior Republic.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court, with Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey voting along party lines.  The Senate voted 53-47 to confirm Jackson’s nomination, with Republican Toomey voting no and Democrat Casey voting yes.  The confirmation is historic as Jackson is the first Black woman to ascend to the highest court in the country.  Jackson will next be sworn in with the Constitutional Oath followed by a Judicial Oath to become the highest court’s 104th Associate Justice.   

Governor Tom Wolf has made another stop Thursday to persuade the public on how best to use federal COVID relief money. He mainly wants to spend the money from the American Rescue Plan on small businesses. The governor claims state GOP leaders are sitting on some two-billion-dollars, which he says will revert back to the federal government if Pennsylvania doesn’t spend it. 

State Police in Mercer County have charged the wife of a Mercer County man accused of attempting to flee prosecution for allegedly raping two children.. 37 year old Catherine Hazen of Hadley is being charged with hindering the apprehension of her 46-year-old husband, Robert Hazen.  Police say Hazen has been charged with 13 chargers including rape, endangering children, and sexual assault.  The alleged victims were under 16 years old, according to court records.  He was arrested in Arizona back on February 1st and now faces an additional charge of flight to avoid prosecution. Both he and his wife are free on bond.

State police are searching for a Westmoreland County mother accused of seriously injuring her baby boy.  Authorities say Danielle Thompson is wanted for endangering the welfare of a child and other charges after the infant was determined to have brain bleeding by doctors at UPMC Children’s Hospital.  The boy’s father, Matthew Davis, is also charged in the case and is in custody at the Westmoreland County Jail. 

Ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato announced new federal funding of $2.3 million will help 20 child care providers in the 9th Legislative District rebuild operations and resources drained by the pandemic. Sainato said the funding from the American Rescue Plan Act will help stabilize these businesses, which provide critical support for working families. According to the state Department of Human Services, which administers the funding, providers, will receive the funding in six monthly installments and must use it within nine months after their applications were approved. Centers also must report to DHS on how the funding is spent.

The suspect who shot and injured a student at Erie High School has turned themselves in to the police.  Officials confirmed that the suspect surrendered themselves to authorities without incident.  The shooting happened on Tuesday in what detectives say was a targeted attack, not a random act of violence.  The suspect is due in court tomorrow, and because of their age, their identity is not being released to the public.

Prosecutors say they hope to begin the long-delayed trial of Tree of Life Synagogue shooter Robert Bowers in the fall.  Officials said yesterday they want to have a jury seated in September, which would be almost four-years after the fatal shooting.  Bowers is accused of killing eleven people outside the Tree of Life synagogue in October 2018, and his trial has been delayed multiple times due to a push for the death penalty, COVID-19, and a judge’s retirement.  Bowers’ attorneys say they will not be ready to present a defense until 2023.

State agriculture experts say the spotted lanternfly, which can destroy crops and other plant life, has been confirmed in the state this year and is moving into western Pennsylvania.  Officials say the lanternflies can hitch rides on trucks and other vehicles.  Property owners who see them are urged to destroy them.  Agriculture officials also ask anyone who sees a spotted lanternfly to report it on the state’s website so they can track them across Pennsylvania.