News Briefing

News Briefing

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Man pleads guilty to murdering gay senior

Stephen Robinson, accused of slashing to death an elderly gay man in May 2007, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder this week and was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in state prison.

Robinson acknowledged slashing to death Michael Lopuszanski, 78, inside the man’s residence in the Torresdale section on May 28, 2007.

Robinson, 40, was arrested several weeks later, after a female acquaintance notified police that Robinson allegedly told her about killing Lopuszanski.

She indicated that Robinson knew Lopuszanski and killed him during a dispute over money, according to court records.

During a brief court proceeding March 31, Robinson acknowledged that he killed Lopuszanski and apologized to several of the victim’s relatives who were in attendance.

Common Pleas Judge Renee Caldwell Hughes sentenced Robinson to a minimum of 20 years in prison for the murder, in addition to a minimum of five years in prison for theft and for possessing an instrument of crime.

Thus, Robinson must serve at least 25 years before being considered for parole.

“Considering his lengthy criminal record, it’s exceedingly unlikely that he’ll ever be paroled,” Hughes told PGN after the proceeding. “In my humble opinion, justice has been served.”

Assistant District Attorney Brian M. Zarallo said he was pleased with the plea agreement and the sentencing. “From the standpoint of the Lopuszanski family and the community, this outcomes serves justice in every way,” Zarallo told PGN.

— Tim Cwiek

Pine St. construction still pending

The Philadelphia Water Department will hold meetings with residents in the coming weeks to evaluate the possibility of moving a construction project that had been slated for Pine Street further south.

The department announced late last year that it was considering Pine, from Seventh to Broad, as the site for a storm-relief project to stem sewage backup in some Washington Square West and South Philadelphia homes. Joanne Dahme, PWD watersheds manager, said the department will meet with different South Philadelphia communities over the next few weeks to discuss the plan.

“We’re still working it out with the community, so we wouldn’t be inviting Pine Street residents to these meetings because we’re looking to move [the project] closer to South Philly right now,” Dahme said.

If the project were to proceed on Pine Street, it would shut down one- to two-block sections of the road to vehicular traffic for several months at a time. Pine Street residents and business owners have been mobilizing for the past several months to prevent the project from shutting down the street.

Dahme said the department should make its final decision on where it will conduct the project by the end of this month.

For more information, contact Dahme at (215) 685-6110 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Del. group honors HIV/AIDS leaders

The Delaware HIV Consortium will honor dedicated volunteers and companies during its annual awards presentation later this month.

The organization will host the fifth-annual WOW Awards Gala from 6-11 p.m. April 17 at the Clarion Hotel-The Belle, 1612 N. DuPont Highway in New Castle, Del.

This year’s ceremony, themed “Paint the Town Red,” will bestow its 2009 Red Ribbon Awards to PhRMA, Bank of America and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as an assortment of local individuals who improve the quality of life of Delaware’s HIV/AIDS community.

The event will feature food, cocktails, dancing and a silent auction. Single tickets are $125, and all proceeds benefit the Delaware HIV Consortium.

For more information, visit or call (302) 654-5471.

— Jen Colletta

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