Judge's order infuriates police dept. - Philadelphia News

NORTH PHILADELPHIA - October 2, 2008 38-year-old Edward Burgess is accused of attempted murder in the savage beating of officer Stephen Mazzoni. It happened last November in an alleyway near Germantown and Westmoreland during what began as a drug bust and ended in a hand to hand struggle.

As Mazzoni lay on the ground, Burgess reportedly reached for the officer's gun and, according to the police report, said "he would kill the officer before he would go back to jail." Backup officers arrived just in time.

On September 22, common pleas judge Rosalyn Robinson ordered Burgess, who has a record of 13 arrests dating back to 1988, released on house arrest to await his trial next spring.

This case has the police department on the warpath again, as they deal with growing waves of violence against police including four cop killings in the last year.

"What is it in this guy's history that would make you think he would abide by the rules of house arrest? To me that's a fairly simple question," Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

"For somebody to go out with a record of 13 prior convictions, everything from robbery to drug offenses, to turn around and have him released on house arrest, that ankle bracelet is not going to keep him indoors," F.O.P. president John McNesby said.

Ironically, the judge's order came one day before last week's murder of Officer Patrick McDonald by Daniel Giddings, a career criminal out on early parole.

"This is not a minor incident where an officer received minor scratches, or bumps or bruises; this was very serious that took place and had backup not arrived, more than likely that officer would have been assassinated," Ramsey said.

Judge Robinson did not return Action News phone calls today, but it's believed she ordered house arrest under a state law requiring speedy trials.

Police say the trial has been delayed because Mazzoni is still to badly injured to testify.

Burgess is not yet back out on the street. He remains behind bars as the district attorney tries to block the house arrest from going through.

His actual trial date is set for late March.

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