PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner announced recent convictions in two cases successfully prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office Major Trials Unit: One case involving a defendant found guilty of assaulting two individuals while impersonating a police officer, and the other involving a drug distribution operation that law enforcement discovered while attempting to apprehend an escaped prisoner.
Commonwealth v. Yuseph Cross
On October 4, 2020, at approximately 4 a.m. on the 400 block of Hoffman Street in the city’s Wharton section, two men were assaulted and robbed by two individuals impersonating plainclothes officers. Yuseph Cross (DOB 7/20/83) and a female co-defendant (who is currently awaiting trial) approached two men who were heavily intoxicated while they slept in their vehicle. The co-defendants identified themselves as police. After gaining access to the vehicle, Cross grabbed a backpack owned by one of the complainants. The owner of the bag proceeded to ask for the item to be returned before a struggle ensued. Cross’ codefendant then held the complainant down while Cross started stabbing the victim in the lower abdomen. Police eventually arrived and apprehended Cross and his codefendant at the scene. The victim sustained serious injuries and had to undergo emergency surgery, but is recovering from his wounds. Cross was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Caroline Jamieson and found guilty after a waiver trial by the Hon. Mia Roberts-Perez of Aggravated Assault with Serious Bodily Injury (F1), Robbery (F1), Conspiracy (F1), Impersonating a Public Servant (M2), and related charges. Cross is scheduled for sentencing in December.
Commonwealth v. Pedro Diaz
In October of 2017, 25th District police and their K-9 unit responded to a service call pertaining to an escaped prisoner. In the course of searching for the escapee, the K-9 officer lost the scent of the prisoner and started detecting the presence of narcotics in a nearby row home. Police proceeded to obtain search warrants for the premises, whereupon officers discovered in an upstairs apartment over one pound of heroin that was later determined to be laced with fentanyl, a .38 caliber revolver, cash in excess of $14,000, new and unused narcotics packaging, drug paraphernalia, and two forms of identification with the name of defendant Pedro Diaz (DOB 2/24/81). After a waiver trial prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Teresa Benavides-Sexton on Monday, Sept. 21, the Hon. Kai Scott found Diaz guilty of Possession with Intent to Deliver (F1), illegal possession of a firearm (F1), and Possession of an Instrument of Crime (M1). Diaz is scheduled for sentencing in November.
“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is grateful to ADAs Caroline Jamieson and Teresa Benavides-Sexton for skillfully prosecuting these cases and obtaining justice for Philadelphia communities,” said DA Krasner. “Prosecution of crime is only a short-term solution to the public health and safety challenges that narcotics and violence present to our city every day, though. We absolutely must invest serious resources in prevention, because we simply cannot arrest our way out of these problems. That’s why my office will continue to successfully prosecute serious crime while simultaneously doing everything we can to lift up the community-based organizations doing the hard, necessary work of prevention.”
DA Krasner over the weekend also addressed the tragic milestone our city reached of over 400 lives lost to homicide this year, in part calling for greater violence prevention efforts. He was echoed by PA Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler (184th District) yesterday:
“As we hit this horrible milestone, we remain committed to partnering with on the ground community groups who are doing the vital work of violence prevention every day. This tremendous loss of life, and the cycle of trauma that it perpetuates, is tearing apart families and communities across the district and across the city.”
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