Archive for category slatington

Bethlehem killer’s wife, who tried to hire hitman, accused of assault

Sonia Panell is on federal probation after getting a time-served sentence in August for hiring a hitman to kill witnesses in her husband’s murder trial.

A woman on probation for trying to hire a hitman to kill witnesses in her husband’s murder trial is back behind bars.

Sonia Panell, 39, is accused of assaulting a woman, including pulling out pieces of her hair, early Thursday morning, and then scuffling with police when they arrested her.

Panell is on federal probation after trying to hire a hitman to kill witnesses against her husband Rene Figueroa.

Rene Figueroa killed Yolanda Morales and paralyzed Angel Figueroa during the South Side Bethlehem gunbattle outside the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society three years ago.

Rene Figueroa was convicted of aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter and related charged following a month-long trial, and was sentenced to 15 and a half to 31 years in prison in the case.

Panell provided an FBI informant with her targets’ names, addresses and tips on where to find them, according to a federal grand jury report. Prosecutors said she used a fake Facebook page to spy on the targets.

Panell, of Lansford, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in February to attempting to hire the hitman, after backing out of a similar deal at the end of 2014. She was given a time-served sentence in August, and placed on three years of probation.

In Thursday’s incident, Panell is now charged with simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and three counts of harassment. She was sent to Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $45,000 bail.

Slatington police said they were called about 3:40 a.m. to a home in the first block of North Seventh Street for an assault.

They found a young woman who had swelling and bruising on the right side of her face, two large scratches on her neck, and a large amount of hair ripped from her scalp, police said.

The victim and a witness said Panell assaulted the woman, then fled in a car headed toward Allentown. The victim was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township for treatment, police said.

Meanwhile, Whitehall police located the car Panell fled in, and about two hours after police were called for the assault, Panell was located in Allentown.

Panell punched, kicked, scratched and pulled officers’ hair, as well as tried to pull her hands away when they tried to handcuff her, Allentown police said. She used vulgar language and called the officers racial slurs, police said.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at scassi@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

Woman lights paper, steel wool on stove in attempted arson, police say

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Slatington police say a woman tried to burn down a borough apartment complex by lightin…