Life in prison for accomplice in 2010 fatal robbery

Wil­li­am Glatz Jr., the vic­tim

A rob­ber in­volved in the 2010 fatal shoot­ing of Lawndale jew­el­er Wil­li­am Glatz Jr. was con­victed of second-de­gree murder last week.

Obina Onyi­ah, 30, was im­me­di­ately sen­tenced to life in pris­on without pa­role by Com­mon Pleas Court Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd, ac­cord­ing to Kyle Byard, an aide in the Phil­adelphia Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s of­fice.

Glatz, 67, a Hol­land, Bucks County, res­id­ent, was gunned down in­side his jew­elry store on the 6400 block of Rising Sun Ave. on Oct. 21, 2010, in a failed rob­bery at­tempt by Onyi­ah and his co-con­spir­at­or, Kev­in Turn­er. Turn­er, 22, who had es­caped from a city pris­on early that month, ex­changed gun­fire with Glatz. Both suffered fatal wounds in the shootout.

Pro­sec­utors said Onyi­ah, of the 5400 block of Ak­ron St. in Frank­ford, also was armed with a gun and fled empty-handed after the shootout. Po­lice ar­res­ted him sev­er­al weeks later.

Onyi­ah’s tri­al began May 20 and ended last Fri­day. A jury con­victed him of murder, rob­bery, con­spir­acy and weapons of­fenses. As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney De­borah Wat­son-Stokes pro­sec­uted the case.

Soon after the crime, po­lice said that two armed men – later iden­ti­fied as Turn­er and Onyi­ah – entered the Wil­li­am Glatz Jew­elry store just be­fore 11 a.m. on Oct. 21. Glatz had his own gun in­side the store and ex­changed shots with Turn­er, who was pro­nounced dead at the scene. He had been wounded twice.

Glatz had been wounded once and was taken in crit­ic­al con­di­tion to Al­bert Ein­stein Med­ic­al Cen­ter at Broad and Ol­ney, where he died.

The Glatz fam­ily had owned the store for more than 60 years. Em­ploy­ees told po­lice that they re­cog­nized the two rob­bers, who had been in­side the store at least twice be­fore. Wit­nesses gave po­lice a de­scrip­tion of the sur­viv­ing rob­ber. who ran from the store west on Pass­more Street. De­tect­ives ob­tained sur­veil­lance tape from in­side the store, but it took fur­ther in­vest­ig­a­tion to identi­fy the un­known rob­bery.

With­in weeks, de­tect­ives put a name to the face in the video and ob­tained an ar­rest war­rant for Onyi­ah. A wo­man re­l­at­ive of the sus­pect helped po­lice cap­ture Onyi­ah by ar­ran­ging for him to meet her on the 5200 block of Frank­ford Av­en­ue, po­lice said. Of­ficers were wait­ing there when Onyi­ah ar­rived.

Po­lice ini­tially re­garded Onyi­ah as a “per­son of in­terest” and in­ter­rog­ated him on Nov. 10, 2010, be­fore ar­rest­ing him later that day. Onyi­ah, po­lice said, had a vi­ol­ent crim­in­al his­tory and had served pris­on terms for bank rob­ber­ies in New Jer­sey. He was re­leased in 2007.

Turn­er was sup­posed to be still in pris­on, fa­cing un­re­lated fire­arms and burg­lary charges, at the time of the failed jew­elry store heist. He had es­caped the Cur­ran-From­hold Cor­rec­tion­al Fa­cil­ity on Street Road on Oct. 12. Au­thor­it­ies did not dis­close his meth­od of es­cape.

As a res­ult of the es­cape, au­thor­it­ies in­vest­ig­ated eight pris­on guards for fail­ing to fol­low pro­ced­ures, but none were charged with aid­ing Turn­er’s es­cape. Some guards were re­as­signed al­most im­me­di­ately after the es­cape.

When Onyi­ah was ar­res­ted for the Glatz case, he also was charged with the 2009 rob­bery of a Cit­izens Bank branch on Bustleton Av­en­ue.

“That case is still wait­ing to be tried,” Wat­son-Stokes said Tues­day. ••

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