National Roundup ...

Second man facing trial in Craigslist killings
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The alleged mastermind of a deadly plot to lure robbery victims with phony Craigslist job offers faces a possible death sentence at his trial in the deaths of three men and wounding of a fourth.
Prosecutors have portrayed Richard Beasley, 53, whose murder trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday, as an ex-con street preacher in Akron and mentor to a teenager convicted in the plot.
Brogan Rafferty, who was then 17, was sentenced to life in prison in November after being found guilty in the plot. Because of his age, he wasn’t eligible for the death penalty.
Beasley has pleaded not guilty to a 27-count indictment.
Prosecutors have asked deputies to bring Rafferty from prison to testify at the trial. At his sentencing, Rafferty said the crimes were horrible but said he didn’t recognize any chance to stop the killings.
His defense attorney told the judge that Rafferty is willing to testify against Beasley. He said his client wouldn’t stand convicted if it wasn’t for Beasley.
The jury rejected the defense claim that Rafferty feared for himself and his family if he didn’t cooperate with Beasley.
Prosecutors say the victims, all down in their luck and with few family ties that might highlight their disappearance, were lured with phony offers of southeast Ohio farmhand jobs on Craigslist in 2011.
The murdered men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon. The lone survivor, Scott Davis, was shot in the arm, knocked the weapon aside and fled into the woods.

Alec Baldwin, NY Post photog file harass claims
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City police are investigating harassment complaints made by actor Alec Baldwin and a New York Post photographer after an altercation.
According to police, photographer G.N. Miller says the former “30 Rock” star yelled racial epithets and other insults when he was trying to take pictures of the actor outside his Manhattan apartment. Baldwin maintains he hollered at the photographer, but never said anything racist. He called the allegations “outrageous.”
Baldwin called police and filed a harassment complaint Monday after the incident. The photographer later filed a cross-complaint.
The police department’s Hate Crimes Task force was looking into the allegations.

Teenager pleads guilty in shooting of classmate
TOWSON, Md. (AP) — A 15-year-old high school sophomore has pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the shooting of an intellectually disabled classmate last year in suburban Baltimore.
Robert Gladden Jr. entered the guilty plea to the adult charge in Baltimore County Circuit Court on Tuesday, the day his trial was scheduled to begin. A judge accepted the plea and agreed to sentence Gladden to no more than 40 years in prison. Gladden will be sentenced Monday.
Gladden also pleaded guilty to using a firearm in a crime of violence. Both counts involved 17-year-old Daniel Borowy, who was hit in the back with a shotgun blast last August on the first day of classes at Perry Hall High School. Borowy has Down syndrome.
Gladden had been charged as an adult with 29 offenses.

Imam testifies, denies Taliban connection
MIAMI (AP) — Testifying in his own defense, an elderly Muslim cleric who lives in South Florida is denying any connection to the Pakistani Taliban terrorist organization.
Seventy-seven-year-old Hafiz Khan took the witness stand Tuesday in a Miami federal courtroom. Khan declared he is innocent of U.S. charges that he sent at least $50,000 to help finance Taliban fighters. Khan says he is a proud U.S. citizen.
Khan has been jailed since his May 2011 arrest on four terrorism support-related charges. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison on each count.
Khan took the stand after defense lawyers were unable to restore a video link to witnesses testifying from Pakistan. That link was mysteriously cut last week.
Charges were previously dropped against two of Khan’s sons in the U.S.

State, immigrant group settle detainee lawsuit
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — The Malloy administration and immigrants’ rights advocates in Connecticut announced Tuesday a legal settlement limiting the number of immigrants handed over to federal officials.
Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, which represented an East Haven man detained by state officials and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sued the state last year.
Travis Silva of the Yale legal group praised the settlement, which was filed in federal court on Tuesday.
“It took some political imagination to get this done,” he said.
The settlement, which is in effect for four years, approves a policy that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy put in place in April, said Mike Lawlor, the state’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning. State officials will honor so-called “detainer requests” by federal immigration officials only when dealing with serious or violent criminals, he said.
Immigrant advocates say the state turned over 33 individuals to ICE each month in 2011. Since case-by-case assessments took effect, the number has dropped to fewer than 10 a month, the Yale law group said.
Lawlor said Malloy acted in response to a federal immigration initiative, the Secure Communities program, which uses fingerprints collected in local jails to identify illegal immigrants who have been arrested.
Victims and witnesses in the immigrant community might be reluctant to cooperate with local and state law enforcement if they fear deportation, Lawlor said. He said the federal program could potentially interfere with law enforcement.
Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for ICE, said in a statement that the agency’s priorities include identifying and removing illegal immigrants who have broken laws, are a threat to national security, recently crossed the border or repeatedly violate immigration law. ICE issued new guidance in December restricting the use of detainers to exclude those arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses such as traffic offenses and other petty crimes, he noted.
Yale’s legal advocacy group said Sergio Brizuela, a 33-year-old East Haven resident, filed the federal civil rights lawsuit in February 2012 after state correction officials unlawfully detained him and transferred him to ICE custody.