The defendants in the Aug. 24 Huntingdon Valley home invasion case had different experiences in court earlier today.
Jeffrey Lopergolo, 19, of the 8800 block of Rising Sun Avenue, Philadelphia, waived his preliminary trial in front of District Judge Joseph Dougherty. His co-defendant, Anibal Pastor, 17, of the 12000 block of Rambler Road, Philadelphia, got to hear testimony from the complainant — a 77-year old woman.
Lopergolo and Pastor have been charged with robbery, aggravated assault, theft, criminal conspiracy to commit burglary and related charges.
According to the complainant, two men entered her house in the unit block of McFadden Drive through an open kitchen window and entered her second-floor bedroom. Both of the defendants were wearing bandanas around their faces and both were carrying 1-foot-long hatchets.
“The next thing I know, two young guys, young men, wearing bandanas, were in my bedroom,” the complainant said. “They said, ‘We came to get your money.’”
The victim said she was then sprayed with mace in her face and eyes four times “within touching distance.” According to the complainant, the defendants then ransacked the home, ultimately stealing jewelry, including two vintage watches, and four pistols.
None of the items was returned.
The complainant went on to say that one of the defendants put her head under a pillow and then hit her in the head with an unknown object.
According to the complainant, the defendants then destroyed her cell phone, ripped out the phone jacks and fled through the front door. The complainant called her son by using a fax machine about a half hour later.
“I was horrified,” the complainant said. “I was in my house and I was invaded. I didn’t know what they were going to do.”
Pastor’s attorney, Marc Neff, objected to the complainant’s use of the word “they,” adding that the complainant could not identify his client, or which man was speaking to her. The objection was overruled.
Abington Police questioned Lopergolo about a week later, and Lopergolo led police to Pastor.
Abington Detective Rob Davis testified that Pastor said he was involved in a “robbery off of Pine Road” in a statement.
Neff asked Davis how long Pastor — a minor — was questioned, and asked Davis how he got permission to speak to Pastor. Davis said Pastor was questioned for “probably less than two hours,” and added that he did not physically meet the family member who gave permission to speak with Pastor.
Pastor’s family, including his grandmother and grandfather, were in the courtroom. Many of the family members were younger; many were crying.
Neff asked for a bail reduction to $25,000 from the original $500,000, adding that, if released, Pastor would live with his grandparents in Philadelphia who are “responsible people.”
Assistant District Attorney John Walko said, “Based on the seriousness of this crime, we ask that [the bail] remains high.”
It did. Bail for both defendants remains at $500,000 each.
“Under the circumstances, in this very egregious crime, which included bodily harm, I can’t see lowering the bail,” Dougherty said.
Pastor’s grandparents were both heard saying “Oh God” following Dougherty’s statement; both were swearing and crying in the lobby following the trial.
Following the trial, Walko said that Lopergolo is cooperating with authorities.
“I believe at this point, [Lopergolo’s] attorney recognized that we were going to meet our burden,” Walkdo said. “From the facts that have been revealed, Lopergolo has already started his cooperation. He gave a statement, he helped lead us to Anibal Pastor … and I would imagine he’s just trying to continue his cooperation.”
Walko said both were charged as co-conspirators and could be tried together if necessary.
No arraignment date has been set.