Philadelphia woman pleads guilty to holding disabled people captive in fraud scheme

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PHILADELPHIA — A woman accused of keeping mentally disabled adults captive in the basement of a Philadelphia home for their disability checks has pleaded guilty to all counts in a deal that will spare her a possible death sentence.

Fifty-five-year-old Linda Weston entered the plea Wednesday in federal court to all 196 counts against her including murder, kidnapping, hate crimes, sex trafficking and fraud.

In exchange, prosecutors agreed to recommend a life term in prison plus 80 years when she is sentenced Nov. 5.

Weston was arrested in October 2011 when a landlord found four bedraggled adults locked in a squalid boiler room and called police. Authorities say those victims and others were confined like "zoo animals."

Defense attorneys say their client entered the plea out of concern for her children.

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