National Roundup


Lawyer: Teen charged in girl’s slaying released 
CLAYTON, N.J. (AP) — The brother of a New Jersey teenager who admitted killing a 12-year-old girl who wanted to trade bike parts has been released from a juvenile jail.
Dante Robinson had been charged with murder in the death of Autumn Pasquale.
His 16-year-old brother, Justin, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated manslaughter and was sentenced this month to 17 years in prison. He said he acted alone when he strangled Autumn after luring her to his Clayton home in October 2012. The girl’s disappearance set off a massive search in the small town 25 miles south of Philadelphia.
Attorney Chris Hoffner told the South Jersey Times the 17-year-old was released from custody on Tuesday. He said his client admitted no crime and wasn’t involved in the girl’s death or moving her body.
Dante Robinson’s release suggests that he reached a plea deal on a lesser charge, but authorities would not comment because juvenile court dispositions for minor offenses are confidential.
Jaime Kaigh, a lawyer for Autumn’s mother, told The Associated Press that the family hopes the end of the criminal case brings “closure and healing.”
Before Justin Robinson’s sentencing hearing, several friends of Autumn’s family expressed frustration that the teen who admitted to the killing was not getting a longer sentence.
Prosecutors said that because of his age and developmental disabilities, it was not certain that a judge would have ordered the case moved to adult court. And if he had been convicted of murder as a juvenile, he could have been paroled in as few as seven years.
They also said there was no physical evidence to show which of the brothers had killed the girl.
It was the brothers’ mother who contacted authorities after seeing something that bothered her on one of their social media accounts as the community searched for Autumn.
Teenager found guilty in school shooting plot 
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (AP) — A teenager who authorities say tried to recruit classmates for a mass shooting and bomb attack at his northeastern Oklahoma high school has been convicted in a plot to kill students, teachers and police officers.
A jury in Bartlesville found 19-year-old Sammie Eaglebear Chavez guilty of planning to cause bodily harm and recommended a 30-month prison term and $5,000 fine. The jury found him not guilty of conspiring to perform an act of violence.
Chavez had pleaded not guilty and testified in his own defense that he was joking when he told classmates about how a shooting and bomb attack could be carried out at Bartlesville High School.
“It was a joke in the sense that it wasn’t meant seriously,” Chavez told jurors, the Tulsa World newspaper reported. Bartlesville is 45 miles north of Tulsa.
Police and prosecutors said Chavez intended to lure students into the school’s auditorium, chain the doors shut and shoot the students. Chavez also planned to place bombs by the auditorium doors and detonate them as police officers approached, according to an affidavit.
Chavez was arrested in December, hours before a gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
Bartlesville police officer Jacob Moran testified that after arresting Chavez he found notes in the teen’s pockets saying that “those who deserve to die will be killed,” and that those who survive “will be forced to witness it,” according to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.
Chavez testified that he had no intention to shoot or bomb the school, but admitted he was “angry at the world,” and that writing the notes was a way for him “to release feelings of anger.”
Prosecutors said Chavez tried to obtain a map of the school campus and had recently used a school computer to get information about a platform to support a .22-caliber rifle.
A student informed school officials about the plot — police said Chavez tried to recruit classmates — and the school officials called police. No one was injured.
Phone messages seeking comment from prosecutors and Chavez’ defense attorney were not immediately returned late Tuesday afternoon.
Chavez’ mother has said her son sent her a text message two days before his arrest saying that he wanted to “shoot up” the high school because he thought some students were talking about him behind his back. But she also said she didn’t think her son would carry out the attack.
“Deep down, I don’t think my son would have done this,” Jessie Chavez said shortly after her son was arrested. “That’s not my son. My son laughs and makes jokes. He’s always pulling pranks.”
Chavez also said her son showed symptoms of possible mental illness and had been seeing a therapist, but the court found him competent to stand trial following a mental competency exam.
Lawsuit against store in shooting  spree dismissed 
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a $3.75 million lawsuit filed against sporting goods retailer Gander Mountain by the husband of a woman killed in a shooting rampage at a Binghamton civic organization four years ago.
Samir Muhammad Al-Salihi’s lawsuit filed in April 2011 alleged that the St. Paul, Minn.-based company’s employees were negligent in selling Jiverly Wong semi-automatic pistols and ammunition. Al-Salihi’s wife was among the 13 people who Wong killed at the American Civic Association in April 2009 before committing suicide.
The lawsuit alleged that Wong exhibited signs of being mentally unstable while purchasing the firearms, and that Gander Mountain should have been on notice that he was likely to use the guns to harm himself or others.
U.S. District Judge Norman Mordue dismissed the complaint in a 30-page decision issued Friday, according to the Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton.
“There is simply no evidence demonstrating that ... Gander Mountain knew or should have known that Wong posed an unreasonable risk of harm to himself or others,” Mordue wrote.
According to court documents, Wong purchased two firearms at Gander Mountain’s former Johnson City store that were later found at the scene of his shooting rampage.
Arguments in the lawsuit hinged on evidence of Wong’s behavior in front of Gander Mountain employees. Four current and former workers were subjected to depositions, and Gander Mountain provided a videotape of Wong’s presence in the store.
Mordue drew heavily from the employees’ statements.
“He was a quiet man who frequently visited the store, was always by himself, and never caused trouble while on the premises,” Mordue wrote.
Kelly Fischer, the Binghamton-based attorney representing Al-Salihi, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Al-Salihi’s lawsuit against Gander Mountain had been the sole civil lawsuit stemming from the shooting.