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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Philly Man Sentenced to Decades in State Prison for Kidnapping, Attempted Homicide

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Calling his crimes cold and calculated, a Bucks County judge sentenced a Philadelphia man on Wednesday to 40 to 80 years in state prison for kidnapping a young man in Upper Southampton Township, then forcing him at knifepoint to drive to an ATM to withdraw money while threatening to kill him and his mother.

Pavel Belous, 38, previously entered an open guilty plea on March 25, 2022, to two counts of attempted homicide and one count each of kidnapping, robbery, simple assault, terroristic threats, theft by unlawful taking and possession of an instrument of crime.

President Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. heard from the victim and his mother before handing down sentence.

The victim was 18 when Belous stalked him for about an hour on the night of March 11, 2021, confronting him at knifepoint in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in Upper Southampton. The ordeal ended only after the victim pulled out his Boy Scout knife and stabbed Belous in the back, an injury that left him paralyzed.

The victim told Judge Bateman that he still has vivid nightmares from that night that have left him frightened to go outside or out with friends. Even scarier, the victim said, are the thoughts of what would have happened if he didn’t react by stabbing the defendant.

Credit: Melissa Hammond

“I don’t see this going away for a while,” he said, in tears. Bateman called the victim’s actions quick-thinking and courageous and did what was necessary to save his life and that of his families.

Bateman then sentenced Belous to four consecutive 10–20-year sentences, for a total of 40-80 years in state prison. He was also ordered to pay $2,100 in restitution.

Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon said Belous’s actions were unlike other attempted murders.

“This was a premeditated attack, a hunt,” he said.

After a chance encounter at a Philadelphia convenience store on March 11, 2021, Belous followed the victim to three locations, often driving with his lights turned off to avoid detection, before confronting the victim at knifepoint in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in Upper Southampton.

The victim was sitting in his car at 10:30 p.m. that night, eating food he had just purchased when a masked man got into the passenger’s side seat, put a knife to the victim’s throat and demanded money.

The victim gave Belous $18, but Belous wanted more and forced the victim to drive to an ATM where the victim withdrew $450.

During the ordeal, Belous removed his face covering and threatened to kill the victim because he saw his face and could identify him. Belous ordered the victim to drive him to his home to get more money.

As he drove to his home, the victim secretly called 911, but hung up before the call was answered. He then called his mother to say he was bringing a friend over.

When they got to his house, Belous threatened to kill him and his mother and burn their house down. He also threatened that he had killed people before.

They both got out of the car, but the victim was able to retrieve his folding knife from his car and stabbed Belous in the back. The victim ran inside his house and called 911, and police found Belous hiding in the victim’s car and arrested him.

During the investigation, Bucks County authorities learned that Belous was charged with killing a man in Philadelphia. That killing, according to Philadelphia Homicide Detectives, happened less than a week before the Upper Southampton robbery and kidnapping. The victim in the Philadelphia killing had his throat cut, and his home was then set on fire, the same violent acts he threatened in Bucks County.

That case remains open in Philadelphia.

“This defendant committed a level of violence against his victim that we’re only familiar with in horror movies,” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said. “Were it not for his victim’s courage and quick thinking, I firmly believe that this defendant would have continued his killing rampage.”  “I am grateful that he was unable to do so; and now won’t be able to ever again.”

The Upper Southampton Police Department, led by Detective Anthony Marseglia, handled the investigation. Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon prosecuted this case.

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Neshaminy Mall Sale Finalized Large Scale Redevelopment Planned Says New Owners

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One of the area’s biggest shopping malls will have new life given to it by its new owners, they say.

As previously reported, Paramount Realty Group  has purchased the 1-million square foot mall which sits at the crossroads of Lincoln Highway, Route 1 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Brookfield Properties. 

Opened in 1968, the Neshaminy Mall has hosted stores such as “Boscov’s” and “GameStop”, but over the years, the mall has started to decline in both visitors and renters. Walking through the mall now is like walking through a ghost town. The AMC theater and Boscov’s are still there, but stores like Macy’s, Friendly’s, and even Rita’s water ice are all gone with the mall dying a slow painful death prior to the sale.

The mall will undergo large-scale construction that will see roughly half of the area demolished in the process, the new owners told the Philadelphia Business Journal last week. 

The plans, which have not been finalized as of yet,  but could include a mix of residential, retail, and medical facilities, according to Paramount Realty Principal Maurice Zekaria, in the report.

Paramount and Edgewater jointly announced that they had closed on the purchase of the 108-acre site from Brookfield Properties for $27.5 million, a far cry from a previous estimated market value of $45.4 million.

Credit: DeZen Graphics

Paramount owns numerous properties in Bucks County, including Marketplace at Neshaminy, which is adjacent to the mall, and Lincoln Plaza in Middletown Township, which they acquired in 2020, according to public records and also purchased Brunswick Square Mall in Middlesex County, New Jersey in 2023.

The former Macy’s was recently purchased by Tony Chowdhurry, who is converting the space to a Fusion Gym in the hopes of giving the mall a “shot in the arm.” 

At the Oxford Valley Mall, Boscov’s was torn down to make way for luxury apartments and is expected to be completed soon.

The ability to shop online, experts say, is the single biggest contributor to the demise of shopping malls across America.

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Health - Bensalem Township

Funding for Bensalem Water Main Replacement Secured

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Bensalem Township will be allotted funding from a $77.5 million loan through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) for a water main replacement project, announced Rep. K.C. Tomlinson (R-Bucks).

PENNVEST funding specifically serves projects in Pennsylvania that focus on sewer, storm water and drinking water projects.

The loan will be distributed to 16 municipalities across southeastern Pennsylvania for water main replacement projects.

“I am happy to say Bensalem is included in this vital project in the southeast,” said Tomlinson. “Making sure our water mains are updated means our drinking water is safe and quality service is provided to the consumers.”

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Falls Township

Bucks Judge Orders Triple Killer Committed for 60-Day Mental Health Evaluation

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The man accused of killing three family members, hours before the Levittown St. Patrick’s Day parade causing it to be cancelled followed by a hours long manhunt, has been ordered to be evaluated at a state behavioral health facility.

Andre Gordon 26, a homeless Trenton, N.J man who is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, and three counts of second-degree murder in connection to his March 16 rampage in Lower Bucks County has been ordered to undergo a competency evaluation by a Bucks County Judge Raymond F. McHugh.  The evaluation period is not to exceed 60 days, court records show.]

Mr. Gordon is to be committed to Norristown Hospital or Torrance State Hospital under the Mental Health Procedures Act (AKA 302 and 302 b.) for psychiatric evaluation and treatment, said Manuel Gamiz Jr., director of communications for the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office. He added the facts about the petition are publicly available at this link. 

Killed in Gordon’s alleged killing spree was his 52-year-old stepmother, Karen Gordon, 13-year-old sister, Kera Gordon, and 25-year-old mother of his children, Taylor Daniel.

3/16/24 Andre Gibson

In May, Gordon was charged with aggravated assault and disarming a law enforcement officer —and eight related offenses stemming from an incident in the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

District Attorney Jennifer Schorn said she is seeking the death penalty, if the case goes to trial.

Marcel Johnson, now 31, is the last Bucks County resident sentenced to death. He was convicted in 2015 for the 2013 killing of five months pregnant Ebony Talley, 22, and daughter R’mani Rankins, 4. Rankins murder is what earned Johnson the death penalty.  The last person executed in Pennsylvania was Gary Heidink in 1979 by lethal injection.

 

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