National Roundup

Suspect in killing of Los Angeles woman was actor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Johnny Lewis, an actor who played Kip “Half Sack” Epps on the cable TV show “Sons of Anarchy,” has fallen to his death after apparently beating to death his elderly landlady at a hillside home, authorities said.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office on Thursday identified the bodies as those of Lewis, 28, and Catherine Davis, 81.
Coroner’s Watch Cmdr. Larry Deitz said he could not identify Lewis as being the actor. But the name and date of birth match, and both victims lived at the same address.
The causes of their deaths were unknown pending autopsies.
Neighbors called police Wednesday morning to report a woman screaming and three men fighting.
Officers went to a home in the Los Feliz area near Hollywood and found the body of a woman in the driveway, Sgt. Frank Preciado told the Los Angeles Times. Investigators believe she was struck or beaten.
The body of the suspected killer, who may have rented a room from the woman, was found about six feet from a wall, Preciado said.
The man climbed a wall and fought with a housepainter at a neighboring home, returned to the woman’s home and climbed the wall again to fight with the painter and the owner of the second house, Preciado said.
The man apparently fell while trying to scale the wall again, Preciado said.
The men who fought with him were treated at the scene for minor injuries, he said.
Jonathan Kendrick Lewis had a career spanning more than a decade, mainly in small roles. He played Ricky in the 2007 movie “AVPR: Aliens vs Predator — Requiem” and was Dennis ‘Chili’ Childress for two seasons on TV’s “The O.C.” He played Epps on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” in 2008 and 2009 episodes.

New Jersey
Woman accused of cancer scam for wedding, cash

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a New Jersey woman scammed relatives and others out of cash, meals and even a wedding by falsely claiming she had bladder cancer.
The Burlington County prosecutor has charged 40-year-old Lori Stilley of Delran with theft by deception.
Officials say in February 2011, Stilley told those close to her and posted on Facebook that she had been diagnosed. In April, she said her condition had worsened.
Authorities say supporters raised more than $10,000 after she said she didn’t have medical insurance.
Family and friends also organized and paid for her wedding and delivered meals.
Supporters became suspicious in November 2011 when she posted that she was feeling better and believed a miracle was coming.
Prosecutor Robert Bernardi calls the scam “extremely cruel.”
Stilley is free on $25,000 bail.

Mental exams sought for Ohio shooting suspect

CHARDON, Ohio (AP) — Attorneys for a teenager accused of fatally shooting three students and wounding three others at a northeastern Ohio high school are asking a judge to allow him to visit with mental health experts in jail.
The (Willoughby) News-Herald reports that T.J. Lane’s attorneys have filed a motion asking that doctors be able to visit him in the Geauga County jail to help prepare his defense.
Lane was recently transferred from a juvenile facility to the adult jail because he turned 18.
Lane is being tried as an adult and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole if convicted of the shootings Feb. 27 in the Chardon High School cafeteria. His trial is scheduled for Nov. 26.

State appeals court rules for more jury trials

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon Court of Appeals ruling on Wednesday could clog some county courts with jury trials for low-level offenses such as shoplifting, urinating in public or interfering with police.
The court said a woman accused of shoplifting in 2010 should have received the jury trial she wanted to clear her name of a theft charge. The Multnomah County district attorney’s office had reduced the misdemeanor charges to violations. The judge denied her a trial and ordered her to pay $600.
The Oregonian reports Multnomah, Marion and Lane counties often downgrade misdemeanors to violations to avoid the cost of trials with court-appointed lawyers.
The appeals court decision could affect dozens of Occupy Portland demonstrators who requested but were denied trials on charges such as disorderly conduct.

Ex-sheriff’s wife  gets sentence of 180 days in jail

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (AP) — The wife of an imprisoned former Illinois sheriff has been sentenced to a half-year behind bars after admitting she harassed witnesses in the marijuana-trafficking case against her spouse.
The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that 39-year-old Kristina Martin also was fined $25,000 and ordered to do 250 hours of community service as part of her sentence Wednesday in Jackson County.
She pleaded guilty to harassing witnesses against former Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin before he was accused of trafficking marijuana while on the job. He also was convicted of soliciting a foiled plot to kill witnesses against him.
Raymond Martin was sentenced last year to life in federal prison. But a federal appellate court in Chicago has thrown out that punishment. He’s waiting to be resentenced.

Judge says law on panhandling unconstitutional

ARCATA, Calif. (AP) — A judge says a Northern California coastal city’s law banning non-aggressive panhandlers within 20 feet of stores, intersections and parking lots is mostly unconstitutional.
The Humboldt County Superior Court judge released his ruling on Wednesday, saying the ban can only be enforced near unenclosed ATMs and on public transit vehicles.
The college town 280 miles north of San Francisco has long has been a magnet for vagrants who beg for money, booze or pot. The anti-panhandling law was passed two years ago.
The Los Angeles Times says the judge ruled that Arcata may not restrict solicitation merely because it makes people uncomfortable. The judge says public speech rights prevail.