National Round Up

Illinois: Ex-gov continues offensive against prosecutor
CHICAGO (AP) — Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is continuing his attacks on the prosecutors who’ve hit him with corruption charges and says he isn’t worried that a federal judge will slap a gag order on the case.

Blagojevich began his offensive Tuesday when he called the prosecutors “cowards and liars.” He also challenged Chicago’s U.S. attorney to meet him face to face in court if he’s “man enough.”

On Wednesday, Blagojevich continued his campaign during an appearance on Chicago’s WLS Radio. The Democrat accused the government of being “involved in a big cover-up” and repeated his comments about prosecutors.

Blagojevich also dismissed the possibility that U.S. District Judge James Zagel could order him to stop talking about the case, saying “this is still the United States of America.”

Washington: Mother loses insanity defense in son’s stabbing
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A woman has lost her bid to pursue an insanity defense on charges that she stabbed her toddler son to death in Clark County.

A judge ruled Tuesday that Kelly N. Meining was legally sane at the time she killed her son in 2006. The judge heard testimony that Meining had struggled with mental illness since a teenager.

The ruling means she will now now stand trial on June 7.

Defense lawyers said she hadn’t taken her medication and believed that a gang of people was going to torture and kill 20-month-old Bryce.

But prosecutors and the judge said Meining knew what she did was wrong.

The 34-year-old woman had earlier pleaded guilty but an appeals court allowed her to withdraw the plea.

Pennsylvania: NRA appeals dismissal of gun law suit
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The National Rifle Association has asked a three-judge panel of Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court to reinstate the group’s lawsuit opposing a Pittsburgh law requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms.

A county judge threw out the lawsuit last year saying the NRA and gun owners lacked standing to sue because they haven’t been affected by the law.

On Tuesday, NRA lawyers argued that the law essentially requires people to maintain a gun inventory, something state and federal firearms laws don’t require.

City Councilman Doug Shields says the law is simply a common sense requirement that gun owners report missing weapons.

The law provides for a $500 fine for not reporting a gun stolen within 24 hours.

Washington: Trial date set in  case of murdered pregnant woman
TRI-CITIES, Wash. (AP) — A trial date of Sept. 14 has been set for a Kennewick woman accused of killing a Pasco woman and cutting a baby from her womb.

The 25-year-old defendant, Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong, was found mentally competent last week to stand trial. She is charged with aggravated murder, and if convicted she would spend the rest of her life in prison.

The Tri-City Herald reports the trial date was set Tuesday in Benton County Superior Court.

Prosecutors say she stabbed the 27-year-old victim, Camacho Gomez, is June 2008 in Kennewick’s Columbia Park, cut out the nearly full-term baby and tried to claim it as her own. The baby survived and is with his father.

Nebraska: Teen pleads guilty to vandalizing golf course with carts

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) — An 18-year-old who took destructive joy rides in golf carts with some friends last summer has pleaded guilty in Lincoln County District Court.

On Tuesday, Raymond Dike pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief. Sentencing was set for June 14.

Authorities say Dike and four others caused more than $33,000 in total damage at the Lake Maloney and River’s Edge golf courses.

Twenty-one-year-old Jeremiah Fuoss was sentenced to 18-to-48 months in prison.

Nineteen-year-old Phillip Timmerman has pleaded not guilty and is due back in court May 17.

In juvenile court, 17-year-olds Shayla Theiler and Sarah Westling each were given a year of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $500.

North Dakota: Freethinkers, Fargo argue over Commandments

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A U.S. District Court magistrate judge will be making a recommendation to Chief Judge Ralph Erickson on whether to dismiss a lawsuit over a Ten Commandments monument in downtown Fargo.

The lawsuit by the Red River Freethinkers group claims the city gave the monument a religious purpose in voting three years ago to keep it. The city wants the case dismissed for lack of merit.

Attorneys for the two sides made oral arguments on Tuesday before Magistrate Judge Karen Klein (klyn).

The monument was donated to the city in 1958, to commemorate an urban renewal project. It was installed on its current site in 1961.

Alabama: Man gets 50 years in jail for killing girlfriend
LAFAYETTE, Ala. (AP) — A 26-year-old man charged with killing his girlfriend in their Lanett home has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 50 years in prison without parole.

John Alan Lisenby had been on trial in Chambers County for the 2009 killing of 19-year-old Amanda Engelhardt. Testimony began on Monday, and Lisenby entered guilty pleas Tuesday morning to causing Engelhardt’s death and to abandoning their 8-month-old daughter. Circuit Court Judge Tom Young said the 1-year sentence for abandonment would be concurrent with the 50-year sentence.

Mississippi: Father arrested in abuse of daughter

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Investigators say a 31-year-old Clinton man accused of putting his 19-month-old daughter in scalding water may have abused the child previously.

Jerry Wooten appeared Tuesday in Hinds County Court on a felony child abuse charge. His bond was set at $25,000.

Officials say his daughter, Komara, remains hospitalized at a burn unit in Georgia, where she is listed in stable condition.

Capt. Henry Glaze said Komara received second-degree burns to her lower body.

Authorities tell The Clarion-Ledger that an examination of Komara’s body showed signs she may have been abused before the scalding.