National Roundup

Police: Costumed girl mistaken for skunk, shot

FREEDOM, Pa. (AP) — Police say a costumed 9-year-old girl was accidentally shot outside a western Pennsylvania home during a Halloween party by a relative who thought she was a skunk.
New Sewickley Township police say the girl was over a hillside and wearing a black costume and a black hat with a white tassel. Chief Ronald Leindecker told the Beaver County Times that a male relative mistook her for a skunk and fired a shotgun, hitting her in the shoulder, arm, back and neck Saturday night.
Leindecker told the newspaper that the girl was alert and talking when she was flown to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, about 30 miles away. Her condition was unavailable.
Leindecker says the man hadn’t been drinking and he doesn’t know whether charges will be filed. New Sewickley police said Sunday that decision will be made in a few days.

Parents sue drink company over girl’s death

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The parents of a 14-year-old Hagerstown girl who died in December are suing the maker of Monster Energy Drink, claiming caffeine in the product contributed to her death.
The complaint was filed Friday in California Superior Court in Riverside. It says Anais Fournier went into cardiac arrest after drinking two, 24-ounce Monster Beverage Corp. drinks within a 24-hour period.
Monster is based in Corona, Calif.
An autopsy found that Fournier died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that impeded her heart’s ability to pump blood. She suffered from an inherited disorder that can weaken blood vessels.
Monster says it doesn’t believe its beverages are responsible for Fournier’s death. The company says it’s not aware of any fatalities caused by its drinks. Monster says it will vigorously fight the lawsuit.

Lawmaker wants curbs on fees in probate court

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A California lawmaker wants to protect incapacitated adults from excessive probate court fees.
San Jose Assemblyman Jim Beall is holding a public hearing on Wednesday to discuss proposed rules before the Superior Court.
The rules are designed to protect dependent adults from exorbitant conservatorship fees.
The San Jose Mercury News says court-appointed conservators, trustees and lawyers have been charging huge amounts to manage the lives of dependent adults.
The rules must be approved by San Jose judges before being sent to state officials. If approved, they take effect in January.
Under the proposal, there will be guidelines so that hourly fees match the difficulty of tasks performed.
Proposed maximum rates of $165 an hour, for example, could not be charged for small tasks, such as checking on a pet.

Venue question postponed for LC gynecologist

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — It will be a couple weeks more before a Calcasieu Parish judge begins mock jury selection to consider whether it’s possible to find an unbiased jury in the parish to hear the case against a Lake Charles gynecologist accused of voyeurism and sexual battery.
Hearings on Vamvoras’ requests for a change of venue and to suppress evidence will be considered Nov. 8 and 9.
LaFuria is charged with 186 counts of video voyeurism, for allegedly photographing women’s genitals without their consent. He also faces 78 counts of sexual battery and five counts of molestation of a juvenile. Some of the women claimed LaFuria touched them inappropriately.
Questions about evidence have repeatedly held up the start of trial for LaFuria since his arrest in 2007.
LaFuria’s attorneys contend that the warrant to search his home did not extend to the CDs, hard drives and other storage devices that contained the photos.
District Attorney John DeRosier asked earlier this year to try the battery and molestation charges separately from the voyeurism charges.
LaFuria is free on $1.29 million bond and is reported to be living in Texas.

Man gets life in killing of ex-wife

McCOMB, Miss. (AP) — A 37-year-old man charged with capital murder has pleaded guilty to murdering his ex-wife, accepting a mandatory life sentence for killing 35-year-old Tracy Lynn Thornton Miller in August 2011.
Had he been convicted of capital murder, Jason Miller of Summit could have been sentenced to death.
He pleaded guilty Friday in Pike County Circuit Court after Assistant District Attorney Rodney Tidwell summed up the case against him, The Enterprise-Journal reported.
Tidwell said Miller broke into his ex-wife’s house near Summit while she was calling 911 on Aug. 12, 2011, killed her, then fled with their 4-year-old son.
On the 911 recording, he said, “You can hear at least one of the gunshots, and you can hear Jason telling the 911 operator that nothing is going on.”
Tidwell said Miller was found hiding in the woods about two hours after the killing, and confessed after his arrest.

Several parents may sue over school yoga

ENCINITAS, Calif. (AP) — A group of parents is bent out of shape by free yoga classes at schools in this San Diego County beachside community, fearing they are indoctrinating youngsters in eastern religion.
“There’s a deep concern that the Encinitas Union School District is using taxpayer resources to promote Ashtanga yoga and Hinduism, a religion system of beliefs and practices,” the parents’ attorney, Dean Broyles, told the North County Times.
In an Oct. 12 email to district Superintendent Tim Baird, Broyles called the yoga program unconstitutional and said he may take unspecified legal action unless the classes stop.
The lessons are funded by a $533,000, three-year grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes Asthanga yoga. Some schools began classes last month and others will begin holding them in January.
The classes involve traditional eastern breathing techniques and poses. The district chooses teachers and sets the curriculum while the foundation trains the teachers.
The district has removed any religious content from the twice-weekly classes, Baird said.
The superintendent said only a few parents have pulled their children from the yoga classes and he did not expect district trustees to cancel the program.?