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Hate crime, murder alleged in Philly basement case

PHILADELPHIA — A paroled killer targeted mentally disabled adults in a scheme to steal their Social Security benefits, confining them like ‘‘zoo animals,’’ forcing some into prostitution, and causing the deaths of two victims through abuse and neglect, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Linda Weston, 52, of Philadelphia, was indicted on charges including hate crimes, kidnapping, murder in aid of racketeering, and forced human labor.

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The case came to light in October 2011 after a landlord discovered four malnourished victims locked in the basement of a Philadelphia apartment building, one of them chained to a boiler.

Associated Press

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