Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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By Jason R. Antoine

Morgan Marie Mengel of West Goshen Township in West Chester, Pennsylvania was not happy in her marriage. Instead of filing for divorce, she is on trial for his murder. According to public sources Ms. Mengel is accused of conspiring with her young lover, Stephen M. Shappel, to poisoning and fatally bludgeoning her husband, Kevin Mengel, Jr. on June 17, 2010.

On June 20, 2010, Kathleen Barton, Kevin Mengel’s mother, reported her son missing after she received suspicious texts supposedly from her son stating he was “leaving the area and did not want to be bothered by anyone” stated West Goshen Police Chief Michael J. Carroll. On June 25, 2010, police investigators went to Mr. Mengel’s landscaping business, MKB Property Maintenance to interview employees. While police were still on the premises, Ms. Mengel and Mr. Shappell, who was an employee at the landscaping business, arrived together and upon seeing the police, Mr. Shappell fled the scene in Ms. Mengel’s truck. Police questioned Ms. Mengel. She first told police her husband left the area. Later she finally admitted that Stephen Shappell murdered her husband and she was aware of the murder.

Ms. Mengel was arraigned on June 25, 2010. The next day Kevin Mengel, Jr.’s body was found by cadaver dogs behind Marple Newtown High School. According to Chester County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Carmody and Assistant District Attorney Deborah Ryan, Ms. Mengel had been having an affair with Mr. Shappell since May 2010 and “had convinced 22-year-old Stephen Shappell to bludgeon Kevin Mengel with a shovel after she had poisoned him with a bottle of iced tea.” On the morning of June 17, 2010, Stephen Shappell did just that, breaking two shovels in the process, but not without text messages from Ms. Mengel urging him to “not chicken out.” After the murder, Mr. Shappell texted Ms. Mengel to come to the landscaping business where the prosecution alleges they tied up the body in a tarp, cleaned the area and Mr. Shappell took the body and buried it behind Marple Newtown High School. Stephen Shappell has already pled guilty to murder charges and is expected to testify for the prosecution.

The Mengel’s were married in 1998 after the birth of their first child and by 1999 court records show custody disputes. The couple went on to have two more children during their marriage and in 2004, Ms. Mengel filed for divorce, but then withdrew the complaint a month later. Trial for this case is scheduled for early February.

Contact Pennsylvania Criminal Lawyer, Jason R. Antoine, Esquire at (610) 299-0295 if you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Published on:

By Jason R. Antoine

As I said in previous blogs, it is possible to have charges such as simple assault, harassment or disorderly conduct dropped or reduced to a summary charge. In order to achieve this goal, the DA’s office or the court may want you to attend anger management classes. Anger management is typically ordered by the court in domestic violence situations. In Delaware County, Pennsylvania there are various anger management programs that are convenient and cost-effective. The following is a summary of the programs available in Delaware County.

Rose Tree Counseling Center
1033 N. Providence road
Media, Pennsylvania 19063
(610) 566-4975

Rose Tree is a private counseling center. It offers individual counseling for your court ordered “anger management” requirement. Eight individual sessions will normally meet your obligation. The cost of each session is $75.00 each. Rose Tree Counseling may accept your insurance to help offset this cost. Continue reading →

Published on:

By Jason R. Antoine

Today, I went to District Court in Radnor, PA, Delaware County for a preliminary hearing to defend a domestic assault case at the preliminary hearing that occurred between husband and wife at the Radnor Hotel. My client had been accussed of assaulting his wife, spitting on her and pulling her hair.

This was our second court appearance. At the first listing of this case back in June, I noticed the Commonwealth did not subpeona the victim or the 3rd party witness to the alleged assault. I found this out by going to the front desk at the Radnor courthouse and speaking to court staff. Though no subpeonas were sent out, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office requested a continuance on the basis that the witness didn’t show. I strongly objected to this continuance request. I argued to the Radnor judge that the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure state that continuances should only be granted for “good cause.” I didn’t feel that the Radnor Police forgetting to subpeona its witnesses constituted “good cause.” I explained my position ot the judge. Nonetheless, the District Judge granted the Commonwealth’s continuance request. I expected this. It is normal for judges to grant a continuance at the first listing of the case, especially in domestic cases. Typically, the judge’s will play it safe in these situations and give the victim an opportunity to appear at court. Judges take domestic violence seriously and want to protect victims and give them the opportunity to testify against defendants.

Many times female victims can be bullied or “sweet talked” into not testifying against their male counterparts. As a former prosecutor I know how frustrating this can be: on Friday night he would be beating the crap out of her and on Monday she would be nibbling his ear on the courhouse steps. No joke, I used to see this all the time.

However, today at the second listing of the case, once again, the Commonwealth failed to subpeona its witnesses. I thought this was unusual. I can’t explain why the witnesses weren’t subpeoned. Maybe, it was just forgetfulness on the part of police. Nonetheless, the District Attorney’s Office insisted that my client go through an anger management course. I told them they could take that deal and eat it, that my client isn’t taking any courses. The representative from the DA’s office threatened that the Commonwealth would get the case continued and subpeona the witnesses to testify against my client.

Before the Judge, the Commonwealth adamantly requested that my client attend anger management courses and requested another continuance. I objected and asked the judge to dismiss all of the charges. The judge ended up DISMISSING ALL CHARGES and tossing the case.

Contact my PA Criminal Defense Practice if you or someone you know is accused of domestic violence.