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NEWS
May 18, 2001
This is an edited excerpt of an editorial that appeared today in the York (Pa.) Daily Record. "Murder is the charge." Charlie Robertson spoke those words Wednesday, standing in front of City Hall. He would be the fifth man arrested in connection with the 1969 murder of Lillie Belle Allen. Thursday, he ducked into a police car with handcuffs wrapped around his wrists while print and broadcast news outlets from all over the country captured it. Accuse the media, the district attorney, the mayor, the gangs, the riots or racism for the spotlight on York now, but one thing is crystal clear: The mayor's story isn't going to have a happy ending.
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NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 16, 2002
YORK, Pa. - For nine days, Charlie Robertson sat silently through his murder trial as witnesses told jurors that he had offered bullets and encouragement in July 1969 to young, white gang members now accused in the race-riot killing of a black minister's daughter. He watched as his attorneys called fellow police officers to refute those accusations. And, as he sat wordlessly, a parade of local politicians, businessmen and longtime York residents streamed into court to attest to his reputation as a law-abiding citizen.
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NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 12, 2002
YORK, Pa. - In statements aimed at countering a string of prosecution witnesses, a former York police officer who was on patrol with Charlie Robertson the night a black woman was shot to death testified yesterday that he did not see Robertson hand out ammunition to white gang members before the shooting. "Had I, I would have told him `Give that back or you've got a problem,'" James V. Vangreen told jurors hearing the murder trial of Robertson, York's former mayor, and two other white men charged in the 1969 race-riot killing.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 12, 2002
YORK, Pa. - In statements aimed at countering a string of prosecution witnesses, a former York police officer who was on patrol with Charlie Robertson the night a black woman was shot to death testified yesterday that he did not see Robertson hand out ammunition to white gang members before the shooting. "Had I, I would have told him `Give that back or you've got a problem,'" James V. Vangreen told jurors hearing the murder trial of Robertson, York's former mayor, and two other white men charged in the 1969 race-riot killing.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 3, 2002
YORK, Pa. - Jurors weighing murder charges against former Mayor Charlie Robertson heard yesterday that the then-patrolman attended a "white power rally" the afternoon before Lillie Belle Allen was shot to death in 1969, and that he stirred up the crowd of young white gang members by saying he'd be leading attacks on black neighborhoods if he weren't a police officer. Two former gang members testified that the police presence at the rally and Robertson's encouragement led them to believe police had sanctioned their stockpiling of guns and the gang's intention to defend their neighborhood against blacks during a period of racial strife.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 16, 2002
YORK, Pa. - For nine days, Charlie Robertson sat silently through his murder trial as witnesses told jurors that he had offered bullets and encouragement in July 1969 to young, white gang members now accused in the race-riot killing of a black minister's daughter. He watched as his attorneys called fellow police officers to refute those accusations. And, as he sat wordlessly, a parade of local politicians, businessmen and longtime York residents streamed into court to attest to his reputation as a law-abiding citizen.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF | April 21, 2002
YORK, Pa. - Word rocketed through the throngs of federal, state and local police shortly before 11 a.m. yesterday that members of the Aryan Nations had arrived, as expected, to celebrate the 113th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth in front of the county courthouse. Hundreds of police in riot gear snapped down their shields and pulled on their gloves. Spectators leaned as far as police barricades and orange mesh fencing would allow. More than a dozen photographers and television cameramen aimed their lenses down the street.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 1, 2002
YORK, Pa. - Jurors weighing murder charges against former Mayor Charlie Robertson and two other defendants accused in the murder of a black woman during a week of racial violence in 1969 will begin hearing the case today. Prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to summarize their evidence in opening statements this morning after the judge swears in and gives preliminary instructions to the jury of six white men and six white women. The lawyers finished selecting the last of six alternate jurors yesterday, adding a white man who coaches youth athletics and a white woman who has worked for the Pennsylvania State Police.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 18, 2002
YORK, Pa. - A packed courtroom watched yesterday as lawyers closed out the Lillie Belle Allen murder case in dramatic fashion, with defense attorneys arguing that prosecutors had left "mountains of reasonable doubt" without coming close to proving their case and prosecutors belittling defendants' claims that they shot the black preacher's daughter in self-defense during 11 days of racial strife in 1969. "There is no `it-was-a-riot' defense. There is no `it-was-a-crazy-time' defense," lead prosecutor Thomas H. Kelley told the jury, playing down suggestions by lawyers for former Mayor Charlie Robertson and two other defendants that jurors should consider the "different values" and "limited social conscience" of three decades ago in rendering their verdict.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 8, 2002
YORK, Pa. - It was "the most wrong decision I've ever made in my life," said Ronald E. Zeager. While on police duty, he said, he moved the barricade that blocked the way onto North Newberry Street, allowing Lillie Belle Allen and her family to drive into the hostile white neighborhood where Allen was killed on a July evening in 1969 as young white gang members opened fire. "This was a mistake at the barricades, not murder," William C. Costopoulos, the defense lawyer for former Mayor Charlie Robertson, said in an interview yesterday - the fifth day of testimony in the murder trial of Robertson and two other white men charged in Allen's death.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | October 3, 2002
YORK, Pa. - Jurors weighing murder charges against former Mayor Charlie Robertson heard yesterday that the then-patrolman attended a "white power rally" the afternoon before Lillie Belle Allen was shot to death in 1969, and that he stirred up the crowd of young white gang members by saying he'd be leading attacks on black neighborhoods if he weren't a police officer. Two former gang members testified that the police presence at the rally and Robertson's encouragement led them to believe police had sanctioned their stockpiling of guns and the gang's intention to defend their neighborhood against blacks during a period of racial strife.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF | April 21, 2002
YORK, Pa. - Word rocketed through the throngs of federal, state and local police shortly before 11 a.m. yesterday that members of the Aryan Nations had arrived, as expected, to celebrate the 113th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth in front of the county courthouse. Hundreds of police in riot gear snapped down their shields and pulled on their gloves. Spectators leaned as far as police barricades and orange mesh fencing would allow. More than a dozen photographers and television cameramen aimed their lenses down the street.
NEWS
May 18, 2001
This is an edited excerpt of an editorial that appeared today in the York (Pa.) Daily Record. "Murder is the charge." Charlie Robertson spoke those words Wednesday, standing in front of City Hall. He would be the fifth man arrested in connection with the 1969 murder of Lillie Belle Allen. Thursday, he ducked into a police car with handcuffs wrapped around his wrists while print and broadcast news outlets from all over the country captured it. Accuse the media, the district attorney, the mayor, the gangs, the riots or racism for the spotlight on York now, but one thing is crystal clear: The mayor's story isn't going to have a happy ending.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF | September 30, 2002
YORK, Pa. - She was gunned down at dusk at a railroad crossing. The street teemed with more than 100 armed white young men as this blue-collar town throbbed with racial hatred and violence. Lillie Belle Allen and her family were driving to buy groceries when the mob on the street opened fire at 9 p.m. on July 21, 1969. Whispered theories about who shot her circulated for years, but police were never able to find witnesses willing to back up investigators' suspicions that members of the Newberry Street Boys gang were involved.
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