Court Roundup

Utah: Trial set for man charged in prison guard’s death
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A state judge has set a May trial date for the prison inmate charged with the fatal shooting of a corrections officer during a medical appointment.

Third District Judge Paul Maughn on Wednesday set the trial for May 9 and says it could last more than two weeks. A jury will be picked in April.

Prosecutors have charged Curtis Allgier with capital murder in the shooting death of prison guard Stephen Anderson.

Anderson was shot with his own gun while escorting Allgier to a doctor’s appointment at a University of Utah medical facility on June 25, 2007.

In court Wednesday, both defense attorneys and prosecutors pushed for a later trial date.

Maughn expressed dismay over the length of time the case has already taken.

Mississippi: Mistrial declared in murder trial
PURVIS, Miss. (AP) — A mistrial has been declared in the Shelton Myers murder trial in 15th District Circuit Court.

The jury Wednesday found Myers not guilty on the aggravated assault charge, but a mistrial was declared on the murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charges.

The Hattiesburg American reports the 51-year-old Myers was on trial for the April 18, 2006, shooting death of James Roy Holder. Authorities say Holder was shot five times in Lumberton when he went to talk with Myers.

A new trial has been scheduled for March 16.

Myers is back in the custody of the Lamar County sheriff’s department without bond.

Kansas: Hutchinson man faces 31 charges from meth labs
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A 42-year-old Hutchinson man faces 31 counts stemming from the discovery of two active meth labs.

Bennie Cullison is being held in the Reno County jail on $200,000 bond.

The Hutchinson News reports that Cullison was arrested last week after Reno County Sheriff’s officers reported finding two meth labs in a garage on the property.

He appeared in court Wednesday to hear the charges against him. It was not clear if he had a lawyer.

The most serious charge against Cullison is manufacturing methamphetamine, which carries a potential sentence of up to 17 years in prison. He’s also charged with several other drug counts and 21 counts of criminal possession of a firearm.

New Hampshire: Murder suspect wants to bar evidence, photos

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Lawyers for a man charged with killing a New Hampshire woman and seriously wounding her daughter in a home invasion want to limit the number of crime scene and autopsy photos prosecutors can use.

Eighteen-year-old Steven Spader is charged with first degree murder and attempted murder in the Oct. 4 killing of Kimberly Cates and slashing of her 11-year-old daughter Jaimie Cates in their Mont Vernon home.

Spader’s lawyers want prosecutors to use no more than four photos of the wounds to each victim. Prosecutors say they plan to present 24 photos of their injuries.

Spader also wants to bar evidence that he allegedly formed a group called “Disciples of Destruction” a month before the attacks. His trial is scheduled to begin in October.

Indiana: Jury: Man guilty, mentally ill in lawmaker attack
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A jury in Noblesville has found a man guilty but mentally ill in an attack on Indiana state Rep. Ed. DeLaney.

The Hamilton Superior Court jury on Wednesday convicted 39-year-old Augustus Mendenhall of attempted murder, robbery leading to injury, aggravated battery and criminal confinement.
Sentencing is Oct. 15.

The attack against the Indianapolis Democrat happened in Carmel last October.

DeLaney was involved in the legal fight when Mendenhall’s father tried to lease property to an adult bookstore in 1983. Mendenhall told reporters last year that the litigation bankrupted his family.

Defense lawyer Jack Crawford asked the jury to find Mendenhall not guilty by reason of insanity.

New York: NYC custodian pleads guilty in $105K scheme

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors say a former New York City high school custodian has admitted to aiding a nearly $105,000 no-show job scam.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said Wednesday that ex-custodian Philip J. Portelli pleaded guilty to grand larceny. Prosecutors say the 33-year-old submitted almost two years’ worth of phony time sheets for a friend who didn’t actually work at the school.

Portelli’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a telephone call Wednesday evening. Prosecutors say Portelli is expected to get a one-year jail sentence.

Prosecutors said last spring that Portelli and his buddy split the proceeds of the ghost-worker scheme. A case against his friend is still open.

Prosecutors say the city school system has been repaid.

Pennsylvania: School district settles ‘sexting’ lawsuit

TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. (AP) — A northeastern Pennsylvania school district has settled a lawsuit alleging that a principal illegally searched a student’s cell phone, found nude pictures she had taken of herself and turned it over to prosecutors.

The Tunkhannock Area School District denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay the student and her lawyers $33,000 to settle the case.