National Roundup

North Dakota

March trial set for attempted murder suspect

FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- Trial has been scheduled for a Minnesota man accused in a shooting outside a North Dakota movie theater last summer.

The Forum newspaper reports that the jury trial for 44-year-old Felipe Estrada of Dilworth is to begin March 13 in state district court in Fargo.

Estrada has pleaded not guilty to charges that include attempted murder. He's accused of shooting one man and pistol-whipping another outside the West Acres 14 Cinema in Fargo last June.

Massachusetts

School worker gets 5 years on child rape charge

SALEM, Mass. (AP) -- A former security guard and assistant basketball coach at a Lawrence middle school has been sentenced to five years in jail after pleading guilty to having a sex with a student starting when she was 13.

The Eagle-Tribune reports that Tyrone Farrar pleaded guilty Thursday in Salem Superior Court to child rape.

The sentence was the result of a plea deal between prosecutors and his defense attorney.

The 31-year-old Farrar was arrested in Salisbury in August 2010 for driving erratically and was charged with driving under the influence of drugs. The girl was in the car at the time.

During questioning by police, both Farrar and the girl admitted to having sex numerous times, sometimes in Salisbury Beach hotels, and in her bedroom when her family was asleep.

Mississippi

Judge: Mental hospital, not jail

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A Hinds County judge has ruled that murder charges will not be pursued against a 37-year-old New York woman who told authorities she killed her young daughter and dumped the body in a wooded area near Jackson's old Greyhound station.

The Clarion-Ledger reports that Circuit Judge Tomie Green found Tina Funderburk legally insane at the time of her daughter's death. Green sent the case to chancery court where it is likely that Funderburk will be sent to a state mental health facility.

Green said Funderburk, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, "has not been restored to competency to stand trial, nor is she likely to ever become competent to stand trial in a matter as complex as the case at bar."

Funderburk has been incarcerated for eight years without her case coming to trial. She was indicted in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Reina, while traveling through Jackson on June 25, 2003. The child's remains were found three months later.

Funderburk has been treated three times at the State Hospital in Whitfield, staying each time between three months and a year before being returned to jail.

Green remanded the murder charge to the files. Remanding a case to file means it won't be prosecuted. In some cases it could be brought up if new evidence is found to warrant reopening it. It's rare to reopen a case remanded to file.

Hinds County Public Defender Michelle Purvis Harris and District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith each signed off on Green's decision.

"We're glad that she (Funderburk) had representation to come forward so we could move closer to resolving this issue," Smith said.

California

Lake Tahoe resort's makeover plans spark lawsuit

SUNNYSIDE-TAHOE CITY, Calif. (AP) -- Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit to block a Lake Tahoe resort's redevelopment plan, saying it was inadequately studied and would harm the environment.

The Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore sued the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Placer County on Thursday over their approval of Homewood Mountain Resort's $250 million makeover.

The resort wants to bulldoze the current facilities and turn the 1,250-acre property into a destination resort with a four-story hotel, ski-in condominiums, two lodges and retail space.

Homewood has described it as the most environmentally friendly project ever at Lake Tahoe.

But the lawsuit -- filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento -- says it would worsen air pollution and spew runoff into the lake.

Kentucky

Defendant claims didn't know what "attorney" meant

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A northern Kentucky teenager wants a judge to suppress his murder confession, saying he didn't know the words "attorney" and "lawyer" were synonymous.

Stacey Spencer is now 18. He is being prosecuted as an adult in the killing of 22-year-old Clayton Meyer of Covington, who was shot in January 2011.

Spencer was 17 when the shooting occurred. He faces up to life in prison if he is convicted of murder.

Spencer testified in Kenton Circuit Court on Thursday, saying he did not understand he had a legal right to remain silent and ask for an attorney, according to The Kentucky Enquirer.

Spencer's public defender, John Delaney, argued his client should have had time alone with his mother to discuss his legal rights.

Oklahoma

Man to be tried for wife's methamphetamine death

JAY, Okla. (AP) -- A judge has ruled that a 30-year-old man will be tried on a first-degree murder charge for deliberately causing his ailing wife's death by enticing her to smoke methamphetamine.

Charley S. Guess was locked up on a meth charge when he allegedly told a fellow inmate he figured his wife would die if she used the illegal stimulant. Prosecutors charged him with murder on Sept. 16 in Delaware County District Court in Jay.

The autopsy report for 35-year-old Gidget Marie Cryer Guess says she died on Dec. 29, 2009, of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease exacerbated by methamphetamine.

The Oklahoman reports that court documents state that Guess was tired of taking care of his wife and "just wanted her to go away."

Kentucky

County may ban fish, other creatures as prizes

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) -- Goldfish given as prizes at carnivals may not go home with winners if a western Kentucky county has its way.

The Daviess County Fiscal Court is weighing an ordinance that would prohibit using live animals, including goldfish, as prizes in any game of chance.

County Commissioner George Wathen on Thursday pushed to include goldfish, which are frequently given as prizes in plastic bags, in the ordinance. Commissioners approved the inclusion on the first reading of the ordinance.

The Daviess County Animal Control Board pushed for the measure

Judge-Executive Al Mattingly told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer that children have won bunnies or chicks at carnivals, and their parents haven't wanted to care for the animals. Mattingly said many end up at the animal shelter.

Published: Mon, Jan 9, 2012