WILKES-BARRE – A grandfather with a history of domestic violence spent Father’s Day in jail Sunday after police charged him with killing his wife with a spear in their city home late Saturday night during an argument over holiday plans.
An immigrant from Africa, Harun Ngolo, 65, was charged with homicide, simple assault and two counts of aggravated assault by Wilkes-Barre police and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. He allegedly killed his wife, 62-year-old Maria Jeringa Ngolo, stabbed his adult son, Moses Ngolo and cut his 3-year-old grandson, Noah Cobin, shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday at their Simpson Street home in South Wilkes-Barre.
Maria Ngolo had at least one protection-from-abuse order against her husband in the past. Moses Ngolo, believed to be 28, told police he wanted to move out of his parents’ home, yet stayed at his mother’s request because she feared her husband’s past history of domestic violence.
District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll said there were no current PFAs against Harun Ngolo.
“Again, this is another case of domestic violence which turned deadly. There was a history of domestic violence between the parties, and unfortunately this was the result. We have said before in these cases this does not have to happen,” she said.
“This is a tragedy for the family because not only did they lose their mother, the father has now been accused of killing the mother. It is going to be difficult for them to get through this,” she said.
District Judge Daniel O’Donnell ordered Harun Ngolo held without bail in the county prison during the 15-minute arraignment Sunday in the judge’s Sugarloaf Township office. Harun Ngolo is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday in Central Court.
“Because of the nature of the charge, it is not bailable,” O’Donnell told the 5-foot-tall man, a native of Zaire, now known as the Republic of Congo, in Central Africa.
In response to O’Donnell’s questions, Ngolo said that other than his children he has no other family in the United States. O’Donnell had to speak up as Ngolo motioned with his hand to his ear indicating he had trouble hearing the questions.
According to the arrest affidavit:
Officers were dispatched to the home for a fight between a father and son at 11:38 p.m. Saturday. Once they arrived they found Moses Ngolo with stab wounds to his chest and stomach on the first floor.
Police went to the second floor, where they had to kick in the parents’ bloody bedroom door because it appeared blocked or locked.
Police said a bloody Harun Ngolo was found standing over his wife, who was also covered in blood after being stabbed many times.
The Ngolos’ 3-year-old grandson was on the bed bloodied with cuts to his legs. The alleged murder weapon, a long wooden pole with a knife attached, was found at the base of the bed on the floor.
The 3-year-old and Maria and Moses Ngolo were taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township.
Emergency room Dr. Frederick Toy pronounced Maria Ngolo dead at the hospital at 12:43 a.m. Sunday.
Moses Ngolo and his nephew were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Moses Ngolo remains in fair condition and the toddler was been treated and released.
Police said Harun Ngolo later told them that at about 10 p.m. Saturday he went into his basement to retrieve what he called a long-handled garden tool because he said he was fearful of someone.
“(Harun) Ngolo said that he took the garden tool and put it upstairs in his bedroom for protection,” the affidavit states. Roughly an hour later, he and his wife started fighting over whether they should go to the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs casino in Plains Township for a Father’s Day outing. Maria wanted to go.
Moses Ngolo told police he heard his mother scream, “Moses, help. He’s killing the baby, he’s killing me” as he was upstairs on the third floor with his child, who was not injured in the attack, watching television.
Moses grabbed a black metal bar from a music stand and ventured to his parents bedroom. He kicked in the door, pushing his way through the dark room to retrieve his nephew when he was stabbed by his father with the spear as his mother still screaming about the baby.
Moses fled downstairs to call 911 before running back to his parents’ room, where he saw his mother on her knees as his father swinging the pole at her. Moses headed downstairs again telling his younger brother, Felix Ngolo, what happened before collapsing in the doorway.
During the police interview, Harun Ngolo said “he struck both his wife, Maria, and his son, Moses with the garden tool,” according to the arrest affidavit. Harun Ngolo said he was unsure how his grandson became injured, the affidavit said.
Court documents show Harun Ngolo had a history of family violence.
An arrest affidavit dated Dec. 22, 2007, stated Harun Ngolo was arrested after chasing Maria and Moses Ngolo around the home with a weapon similar to the one he allegedly used Saturday. During the 2007 incident, Harun Ngolo fastened a steak knife to the end of a 3-foot metal poll and chased the family through their Simpson Street home.
The affidavit said the family members locked themselves in a bedroom until police arrived. Police said that Harun Ngolo was screaming, “You’re going to send me to jail? I’m going to kill you,” according to the affidavit. At the time of the incident, Maria Ngolo had an active PFA against her husband.
Harun Ngolo was charged with prohibited offensive weapons, simple assault and harassment.
He served some time in Luzerne County Correctional Facility when he could not make bail of $25,000.
His lawyer later got the bail reduced to personal recognizance. His case was closed in June 2008 when he pleaded guilty to possessing prohibitive weapons and the other charges were dropped.
He was sentenced to six months probation, required to comply with community counseling on an outpatient basis, receive mental health treatment with medication being recommended and not to possess any weapons.
In late February 2007, Harun Ngolo was arrested on charges he assaulted his wife and Moses with a hammer and garden tool. The disposition of that case could not be determined Sunday.
He also pleaded guilty in June 2004 to a summary count of harassment in Wilkes-Barre. No further information regarding that incident or possible victims was available.
The Ngolos came to the United States in 1993 as political refugees, according to a Times Leader feature story done on them 17 years ago.
The story said the United Nations assisted them after their oldest son, Enoch Ngolo, was killed during a student demonstration against then Zaire dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
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