Two men jailed for reasons unrelated to August incident in which girls, ages 5 and 2, injured

Last updated: September 04. 2013 11:17PM - 7132 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com

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PITTSTON — Two men who Luzerne County prosecutors believe were involved in the shooting of two girls at the Sherman Hills apartment complex last month are jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on unrelated charges.

While prosecutors would not disclose the name of the suspected gunman, alleged accomplice Jamal Alford was in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on charges that he attempted to prevent the capture of a fugitive in June.

Alford, 24, of Pittston, is jailed for lack of $100,000 bail, which his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Joseph F. Saporito Jr., called “outrageous” after the hearing before District Judge Andrew Barilla in Pittston.

A law enforcement source close to the investigation said Alford is “Flea,” a street name listed in search warrants filed in last month’s shooting in Sherman Hills of 5-year-old Janiya McFarlane and 2-year-old Gabriella Morris. McFarlane suffered a gunshot wound to her neck and Morris suffered a gunshot wound to her face at Building 328 on Aug. 24. McFarlane was treated and released from Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. Morris remains hospitalized.

Search warrant affidavits state McFarlane’s father, William Cash, known as “Junie,” was upset that two men were in the apartment of his daughter’s mother, Diana Page. Cash entered the apartment through a rear door as a man walked out the front door. Cash asked Page what was going on. When she did not answer, Cash went out the rear door when gunfire erupted, according to the affidavits.

Cash told investigators he grabbed his younger daughter, a 2-year-old who was not injured, and tossed her to the back of the room. As he went to grab McFarlane, she was shot, the affidavit states.

Morris’ mother, Kia, was visiting Page the day of the shooting.

Investigators believe one of the suspects tried to leave town in a 1999 Dodge minivan with a tire on the roof. Investigators seized the vehicle in the area of 510 S. Empire St., where Taleek T. Sistrunk, 21, Jevaun Darryl Brown, 24, both of Wilkes-Barre, and Trevor Whittaker, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were arrested after a fight.

Preliminary hearings of Sistrunk, Brown and Whittaker are scheduled today before District Judge Martin Kane.

Hindering allegation

At Wednesday’s preliminary hearing for Alford, Pittston police officer Samuel Desimone testified he assisted state police Trooper Robert Lombardo and U.S. marshals in searching a house on Church Street, Pittston, for Keon Tyler, 25, on June 4. Tyler was wanted by Plains Township police on charges he robbed another man in the parking lot of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs casino on Sept. 6, 2012.

Lombardo went to the front door and talked to Alford as Tyler jumped 30 to 35 feet from a rear porch in an escape attempt, Desimone said.

Tyler was captured after a foot chase that ended near the Susquehanna River, Desimone said.

Lombardo and Desimone testified that Alford claimed he did not know Tyler.

Pittston police charged Alford with two counts of hindering apprehension on Aug. 27, three days after the shooting at Sherman Hills.

Barilla determined prosecutors established a case against Alford, sending the charges to county court.

Court records say Tyler on Aug. 13 pleaded guilty to a robbery charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 17.

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