Defendants Face Prison Time for Weapons, Child Pornography, Manslaughter, Carjacking, Burglary

A 48-year old Wilmington man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a new conviction related to an attempted stabbing following convictions for multiple previous felonies. In June 2016, Eli Escalera threatened an innocent bystander while holding a knife at a DART bus stop on Route 13 near Memorial Drive in New Castle. The woman ran and was able to flag down a New Castle County Police officer while Escalera chased her. In April, Escalera was convicted of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony, Aggravated Menacing, Disorderly Conduct, and Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited. A judge sentenced Escalera as a habitual offender because of previous convictions for several felonies, including grand theft and multiple robberies in other states, to 25 years in prison, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 2 years of probation. Deputy Attorney General Amanda DiLiberto prosecuted the case.

A Wilmington man pled guilty in Superior Court to 5 counts of Dealing in Child Pornography. Acting on a tip received in May 2016, Detective Jamie Tobin of the Wilmington Police Department with the assistance of the Department of Justice’s Child Predator Unit conducted an investigation, in which they learned 59-year-old Bonafacio Mendez repeatedly exchanged pornographic images with a minor. Mendez will face at least 10 years in prison when sentenced by a Superior Court judge next month.

Deputy Attorney General Phillip Casale secured a prison sentence for a 56-year-old Wilmington man in connection with two robberies. Norris Farlow pled guilty in March to Carjacking First, Robbery First Degree, and Conspiracy Second Degree. Farlow and a co-defendant, John Johnson, committed two robberies on the same day in November 2015. The first occurred in Wilmington where Johnson got into a vehicle occupied by two people in the 200 block of West 7th Street, displayed a gun, and demanded cash. Johnson fled in a car driven by Farlow after getting a small amount of cash from the victims. Later that same day, Farlow approached a 71-year-old female outside of a convenience store in the 700 block of Philadelphia Pike. Farlow got inside her vehicle, displayed a weapon, and forced the woman to drive to several locations to obtain money from her ATM card. Johnson followed behind the victim’s car to every location. Farlow ultimately got money from the victim and fled in a car driven by Johnson. A Superior Court judge sentenced Farlow to 6 years in prison, followed by 6 months of probation. Johnson, who pled guilty to Robbery First Degree and Conspiracy Second Degree in November 2016, is awaiting sentencing.

The 1985 killing of a Delaware man led to a prison sentence for a woman from Georgia more than 30 years after the crime. Deputy Attorneys General John Taylor and Colleen Norris secured the sentence for Sandra Hartzag, 52, of Dalton, GA who pled guilty to one count of Manslaughter in June. In July 1985, 54-year-old Joseph Braun was found bludgeoned to death in his home in the 2200 block of Hearn Road in Wilmington. Hartzag planned the attack on Braun with another man, and that suspect, who actually beat Braun to death with a hammer, died in 1997. Hartzag was found in a homeless camp in Georgia in 2015 where she was arrested as a fugitive from justice. A Superior Court judge sentenced Hartzag to 5 years in prison.

A 23-year-old Wilmington man faces prison after his conviction by a Superior Court jury for Burglary Second Degree and Resisting Arrest. Deputy Attorneys General Ryan Bounds and Erika Flaschner secured the verdict against Jaleel Carter. In January 2017, Carter fled from a stolen vehicle in the 2300 block of North Market Street. As Carter ran from police, he broke into an occupied home and hid inside the residence, trying to evade the police. Carter will face a minimum of 8 years in prison as a habitual offender, due to previous felony convictions for Robbery and Burglary charges, when sentenced later this year.