Trial opens for last officer in Katrina deaths

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Jury selection is under way in the trial of a retired New Orleans police sergeant charged with helping cover up deadly shootings of unarmed residents on a New Orleans bridge after Hurricane Katrina.

The trial starting Monday for Gerard Dugue is expected to last two weeks.

Dugue allegedly submitted a false report to make it appear police were justified in shooting six people, killing two less than a week after the 2005 storm.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ordered separate trials for Dugue and five other current or former officers who were convicted in August of civil rights violations stemming from the shootings.

Dugue isn't charged in the shooting. He didn't get involved in the case until several weeks later, when the department assigned him to help another sergeant investigate.


US judge orders release of more IRA recordings

BOSTON (AP) -- A federal judge has ordered Boston College to turn over more interview transcripts and recordings of former IRA members.

In a five-page ruling issued Friday, Judge William Young ordered the college to turn over transcripts of seven interview subjects in an oral history project to U.S. prosecutors, who had subpoenaed them on behalf of British investigators

British police requested the information for their investigation into the 1972 slaying of a Belfast woman.

A university spokesman tells The Boston Globe the school was disappointed in the ruling and is reviewing its legal options.

The school promised interview subjects anonymity until they died.

Young last month ordered Boston College to turn over other interview transcripts and recordings.

A former IRA member and an Irish journalist have challenged the ruling, saying it puts lives in danger.

New York

Daughter's tip leads cops to daddy in attic

MASSENA, N.Y. (AP) -- Kids say the darndest things, especially when daddy is trying to hide from the police.

State police say troopers went to John Colby's home in Massena in northern New York on Sunday morning to serve two warrants for his arrest for failure to appear in court for vehicle and traffic violations.

Troopers say Colby's 27-year-old live-in girlfriend told them she didn't know where Colby was. But then the couple's 4-year-old daughter chimed in, telling police that "daddy is scared and hiding in the attic."

Troopers checked out the attic and found the 30-year-old Colby. He was charged with bail jumping, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.


Court upholds murder verdict

in toddler's death

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia's top court has unanimously upheld the murder convictions and life prison sentences given to a metro Atlanta couple for strangling and beating to death the woman's young daughter.

The Georgia Supreme Court's decision on Monday involved the December 2008 death of Makayla Mack, who was 2 ? when she was taken to the hospital.

An autopsy revealed she had hair loss, bruises and other signs of abuse, and Coweta County prosecutors charged Thomasina Mack and DeMario Steven Smith with her death.

The two were tried jointly in April 2010 and the jury found them guilty of murder and cruelty to children, sentencing them both to life in prison. Both appealed, but the Georgia Supreme Court's opinion found the evidence was sufficient to find them "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."


Man faces sexual assault charges of 20 years ago

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) -- A Sunderland man charged with sexually assaulting a girl more than 20 years ago has been declared competent to stand trial.

Jose Calderon has been held at the Hampshire County House of Correction in lieu of $2,500 cash bail since his arrest in October.

The 48-year-old Calderon appeared in Hampshire Superior Court on Friday and his lawyer said his client has been declared competent.

Calderon pleaded innocent Oct. 4 in Hampshire Superior Court

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that the alleged victim who is now in her 30s, told police that Calderon used to pick her up at ballet class when she was a young teen and assault her in a wooded area before driving her home.

Calderon was dating her mother.


Court upholds man's conviction in 2 murders

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) -- An appeals court has upheld a Clinton man's convictions in the deaths of a 22-year-old woman and her two-year-old son, whose bodies were found in a fire-damaged apartment in December 2009.

The Clinton Herald reports the decision from the Iowa Court of Appeals means Dameon Tucker will continue serving consecutive sentences of life in prison without parole.

The court found "overwhelming evidence" that Tucker was guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Angel Herman and her son, Cyrus Shoup.

Police say Tucker beat Herman to death, slashed her throat and then used alcohol to set her body on fire. Her son had been sleeping in the apartment and died of smoke inhalation.


Manslaughter recommended in soldier slay case

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) -- The Army officer who presided over a hearing to determine whether charges were warranted against a soldier accused of fatally shooting a colleague from Cape Cod has recommended an involuntary manslaughter charge.

The Cape Cod Times reports that the presiding officer at last month's hearing at Fort Hood, Texas, wrote that a charge of murder against Sgt. Brent McBride was unfounded.

McBride is accused of killing Sgt. Matthew Gallagher of Falmouth in Iraq in June during a game of "quick draw."

The recommendation now goes to their unit's commanding officer who will decide whether to proceed with a court martial and, if so, what charges McBride will face.

McBride's attorney says his client has taken responsibility for his actions and a more severe charge is unwarranted.

Published: Tue, Jan 24, 2012