National Roundup


Teens deny torturing kitten by microwaving it 
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Two teenage girls from Maine have denied felony animal cruelty charges alleging they put an 8-week-old kitten in a microwave and turned it on.
The South Portland girls, who were 15 when they were charged in September, told a judge Thursday that they understood the charges and entered the juvenile equivalent of an adult not guilty plea.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the judge ordered both to undergo a psychological evaluation and released them to the custody of their parents with conditions.
A video of the prank showed up on social media, provoking outrage.
The girls’ attorney said they had had no intention of harming the cat, which was in the microwave for just a few seconds.
The kitten survived and has since been adopted.

DA: Coa­ch’s call to alleged rape victim no problem 
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Penn State football coach James Franklin did nothing “inappropriate” in contacting the woman who claims four of Franklin’s former players at Vanderbilt University raped her last year, a Tennessee prosecutor said Thursday.
“I can’t comment on it much other than to say the statement we’ve always made is there is no indication that coach Franklin did anything inappropriate in this investigation,” Nashville Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a telephone interview.
Any contact Franklin had with the woman wasn’t significant to the case, Thurman added.
Franklin denied wrongdoing earlier this week when attorneys for a former Vanderbilt player charged with raping the woman along with three former teammates accused prosecutors of mishandling evidence in the case.
Thurman told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the filings by defense attorneys for Brandon Vandenburg were “an obvious tactical ploy by Mr. Vandenburg’s attorneys to intimidate the victim and malign veteran prosecutors.” The filings could also taint the jury pool and prevent a fair trial of the charges, Thurman said.
Vandenburg’s attorneys contend prosecutors have concealed evidence from them, including text messages, phone records and call logs from Franklin.
The defense filings said the alleged victim told detectives that Franklin contacted the woman days after the alleged June assault, telling her “they cared about her” because she assisted with recruiting.
The defense attorneys also claim that Franklin had previously “called her in for a private meeting and told her he wanted her to get 15 pretty girls together and form a team to assist with the recruiting even though he knew it was against the rules.”
New Mexico
State high cou­rt: Some convicts can own guns 
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The state’s highest court says a successful completion of a deferred sentence allows a person convicted of a felony to own guns.
The Albuquerque Journal reports the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Thursday that after a defendant completes a deferred sentence for a felony, the person’s rights are automatically restored without a pardon or certificate from the governor.
That decision comes after a Milan, New Mexico, man was charged in a 24-count federal indictment in connection with owning more than 30 firearms. He had previous pleaded no contest in 1992 for felony of tampering with evidence in an unrelated case and giving a deferred sentence.
The opinion by Justice Richard Bosson for a unanimous court said the state Legislature set up deferred sentences as a way to offer clemency.
Man convicted in 5 OKC slayings gets life sentence 
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma man convicted of fatally stabbing five women more than 20 years ago has received five life sentences after his original death sentence was thrown out by a federal appeals court.
Danny Keith Hooks was convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths of Sandra Thompson, Phyllis Adams, LaShawn Evans, Carolyn Watson and Fransill Roberts in 1992.
Hooks was initially sentenced to death but that was overturned in 2010 by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that statements from the trial judge and prosecutors coerced the jury into returning death sentences.
Hooks was resentenced Thursday to five consecutive life sentences without parole. District Attorney David Prater tells The Oklahoman that prosecutors decided not to retry Hooks because so much time had passed since the killings.
New Mexico
Oklahoma lawyer makes deal in cougar killing 
TUCUMCARI, N.M. (AP) — An Oklahoma City lawyer has pleaded no contest in connection with the shooting death of a cougar that led to the resignation of New Mexico’s Game Commission chair.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Jason Roselius pleaded no contest in a New Mexico court Wednesday to unlawful hunting and was ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the Department of Game and Fish.
Authorities say Roselius previously had told a Game and Fish law enforcement officer that he paid $9,000 for the cougar hunt, including a $3,500 tip for the guides.
Charges of unlawful hunting are still pending against former Game Commission Chairman Scott Bidegain and three other men, who all have pleaded not guilty.
Bidegain, an appointee of Gov. Susana Martinez, resigned as commission chairman the weekend before the charges were filed in February.
Man,79, jailed on charges that he st­alked woman 
SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) — A 79-year-old western Pennsylvania man has been jailed on charges he stalked a woman who once testified against him in a murder case.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for William McTonic, of Jerome. The (Somerset) Daily American reports McTonic was jailed after allegedly driving past the woman’s home for at least the fifth time in recent weeks on Wednesday.
The woman testified against McTonic after he was charged with killing his second wife in 2009 after three weeks of marriage. Those charges were dropped after a Somerset County judge threw out a statement McTonic gave police.
McTonic was charged with stalking the woman in 2010 after allegedly sending her flowers, driving by her house and repeatedly calling her.
Prosecutors dropped those charges because they felt it was in the woman’s best interest at the time.