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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Dr, Assaulting Detective

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A 23-year-old man pleaded guilty on Friday, to killing Dr. James Sowa inside the chiropractor’s home office in Bensalem in November 2020.

Joseph O’Boyle, of Bensalem, entered an open guilty plea to criminal homicide, criminal trespassing, and possession of an instrument of crime before President Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr.

O’Boyle has a hearing on June 6 to determine the degree of homicide for sentencing.

In a second case where O’Boyle assaulted a Bensalem detective investigating the homicide, O’Boyle pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest and simple assault. O’Boyle will be sentenced for both cases at a later date.

The killing of Dr. Sowa was investigated by Detectives with the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the Bensalem Township Police Department, with the assistance of the Bucks County Investigating Grand Jury.

Dr. Sowa, 64, was found dead at his home and chiropractic office, located at 3161 Hulmeville Road, on Nov. 2, 2020. Dr. Sowa was found in the kitchen, but blood was found throughout the home and in his business office.

The investigation found that O’Boyle entered Dr. Sowa’s chiropractic office on Nov. 2, without an appointment, and attacked Dr. Sowa by hitting him three times on the back of the head with a blunt object, with two of those strikes fracturing his skull.

While Dr. Sowa was incapacitated on the floor, O’Boyle repeatedly struck Dr. Sowa’s jaw area with a blunt object or rammed his jaw area with a blunt object. Those blows caused Dr. Sowa’s death.

Dr. Sowa’s records showed O’Boyle had been a patient of his in September 2020. O’Boyle’s relatives said O’Boyle was upset about the treatment he received that day for jaw pain, telling them he wanted to sue Dr. Sowa for making his pain worse.

Through their investigation, detectives were able to determine Dr. Sowa’s last known contact with anyone was at 7:46 a.m., on Nov. 2, when he talked to his wife on the phone. He called his voicemail at 7:52 a.m., and then Dr. Sowa began missing several business and personal calls, starting around 9:49 a.m. that day, the investigation found.

Detectives reviewed surveillance cameras in the area, which showed O’Boyle walking up the driveway to Dr. Sowa’s home, disappearing at 8:32 a.m., and re-emerging from where he disappeared less than a minute later.  He then ran back down the driveway and fled.

Dr. Sowa
Credit: Bucks County DA’s office

Through surveillance footage, O’Boyle was connected to a white Nissan Altima.

Surveillance cameras captured the Altima’s license plate number, which was registered to 2255 Byberry Road. Bensalem police records found a response to that home months earlier when O’Boyle allegedly punched his father because O’Boyle refused to take his depression medication.

In the days after the homicide, O’Boyle’s father confronted him about what had happened to Dr. Sowa, and he became agitated and began rubbing his jaw.  His father contacted an attorney.  When his father confronted him again about his involvement in Dr. Sowa’s death, O’Boyle admitted to killing Dr. Sowa.

Detectives obtained and served a search warrant at O’Boyle’s residence on Nov. 10, 2020, and they observed a suitcase packed with clothes on the floor of O’Boyle’s bedroom.

Without provocation, O’Boyle lunged at a Bensalem detective and punched him in the head multiple times, and it took several officers to take him into custody. As a result of the assault, the detective received medical treatment and went through protocol for a possible concussion.

The homicide was investigated by the Bensalem Police Department and Bucks County Detectives. Deputy District Attorney Megan Hunsicker and Assistant District Attorney Christine Sassane prosecuted the case.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Wanna Help Police Find a Way to Cool This Alleged Thief’s Jets Off ?

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It takes a certain kind of chutzpah too walk out of a big box home improvement store with just under $1000.00 in merchandise and leave without paying and what appears to be a grin on your face.

That is the case, Bensalem Township Police say happened last week at the Home Depot. 900 Rockhill Drive on June 10, 2024. and reported at approximately 7:30 p.m.

An unknown white or Hispanic male entered the store and selected two air conditioner units, a Dewalt Saw and a Milwaukee grinder, valued at $946.00. The suspect, exited the store without paying for the merchandise and fled the area in a black sedan, possibly a Mercedes Benz, Bensalem authorities say.

Please look at the photos closely. If you have any information regarding “this bandit’s” identity, please submit an anonymous tip here or contact Bensalem Police at 215-633-3719.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Twp Council To Vote On Volunteer Fire Company Consolidation Monday Night

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Just under two years ago at a Bristol Borough Council meeting, officials were getting an update on the then planned fire company consolidation effort by Steve Reeves,  president of the Bristol Borough Fire Association. At the time, talk of consolidating fire companies in the borough and Bristol Township was a hot topic.

During his presentation Reeves mentioned consolidation talks of the Bensalem fire company volunteer services were also in progress. At the time tidbit was not in the public domain.

Credit: Submitted

Now after two years of planning, the Bensalem Township Council will vote on a resolution to form The Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department at its next meeting Monday night.

If the resolution is passed, the six legacy fire companies, including Cornwells, Eddington, Newport, Nottingham, Trevose, and Union, will be consolidated into one volunteer fire department. This consolidation plan is necessary to ensure adequate fire/emergency response within the township because of reduced membership amongst the current companies, a press release announced late Friday afternoon.

Credit: Submitted

Reeves knew what he was talking about at the time. Lower Bucks Source in the following days reached out to area first responder sources, officials and Bensalem area volunteer firefighters. No one anywhere would go on or off the record. LBS was directed, by Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Robert Sponheimer, to the Deputy Director of Public Safety Robert Race who politely declined to respond to a request for comment at the time.

Credit: Submitted

Late last year, according to a Lower Bucks Times report, Bensalem officials spoke rather openly about dwindling volunteer numbers.  This led William McVey, director of public safety, to ask for council approval to apply for a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant through FEMA, which was subsequently approved in November by council.

This past February the township announced the hiring of Mark Antozzeski as the first career Fire Chief in Bensalem history. He is leading the volunteer fire services, as well as Bensalem Fire Rescue, career staff. McVey told Bensalem Patch.com the hiring was an important piece of the consolidation process.

 

Credit: Submitted

Earlier this month,  Nottingham Fire Department Chief Ron Harris was named the Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief as part of the consolidation effort, according to published report. 

Credit: Submitted

Beginning Friday evening, shortly after receiving the Bensalem announcement on the expected consolidation vote, first responder sources Lower Bucks Source contacted said that back in 2022 when first contacted they declined to comment because the topic was sensitive in nature and a real possibility of backlash existed and concerns about “sabotaging” the process were also omnipresent. Those sources again declined to comment on the record.

Consolidation Efforts in Bristol Borough & Bristol Township

In February, Bristol Borough voted to consolidate their volunteer fire services. Prior to that step the borough approved applying for a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant in the amount of $1.5 to build a new fire house at a yet to be determined location.

As far back as February of 2022, a smaller plan in size and scope was being discussed in Bristol Township involving Newportville Fire Company #1, Third District Fire Company with career fire personnel from the township which came off the heels of  a fire study completed in 2020.  That plan is no longer in play, fire officials say. Third District Fire Chief Howard McGoldrick said it’s a “complete mystery” why Newportville ultimately decided against the discussed move and merger.

” Volunteer fire services in Bucks County are changing right before our eyes” one first responder said last year.

Credit: Submitted

In each of the consolidation efforts, public safety, declining volunteer numbers and increasing costs have been cited repeatedly by officials publicly.

“It’s just not sustainable anymore financially for fire companies, the municipalities they serve, and taxpayers. It’s consolidate or die”, a high ranking first responder source said Friday.

Bensalem Council is expected to pass the resolution with its vote tonight.

Editor’s Note:  Each of the images in this story come from the volunteer fire companies serving Bensalem Township.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Thunderstorm Rips Through Lower Bucks Area Friday Evening

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A Friday evening thunderstorm ripped through the Lower Bucks County area causing power outages, trees to come down, and other related damage.

The storm swept the area beginning around 6 p.m. just as the evening rush hour for motorists was ending.

Scattered wind gusts were expected, with up-to 1/4 inch sized hail and intermitted lightening were called for by forecasters before the storm landed.

Credit: Submitted

In the Winder Village section of Bristol Township, public safety officials say a tree landed on a vehicle while the motorist was operating the vehicle. The driver was able to get out of the vehicle under his own power with no injuries, Third District Fire Company officials said.

Credit: Submitted

 

In the Bensalem -Bristol areas, dozens are still without power, as of 7 a.m. Saturday morning, Information, according to PECO, is still pending assessment in the Croydon  and West Bristol sections of Bristol Twp.

Credit: PECO

No information on any injuries sustained as a result of the storm at this time.

Approximately 400 customers remain without power, PECO officials say in the Lower Bucks County area as of publication time.

Credit: Joe Nelson

 

 

 

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