National Roundup

New York
Lawyer: NYC subway stabbing was self-defense

NEW YORK (AP) - A defense lawyer says a man accused of drunkenly stabbing three people on a New York City subway platform was just defending himself.

Ivan DeLeon was arraigned Sunday on assault and other charges in Saturday's violence at a subway station under Grand Central Terminal.

Defense attorney Alan Abramson says DeLeon "had to fight for his life" while being "viciously beaten by a group of men." Abramson says DeLeon was left with bruises on his face.

Prosecutors, however, say it started when DeLeon bumped into a child who was accompanied by several adults.

Investigators say the 38-year-old DeLeon swore at the adults to get out of the way, threatened them and then pulled out a folding knife and wounded three men. One was critically hurt, but all are expected to survive.

Woman sues GM after suffering burn from seat

YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) - A Maine woman who says she suffered a third-degree burn from a heated seat in Chevrolet Suburban has sued General Motors.

Emma Verrill says in her suit filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine, that GM failed to adequately test the rear seat heaters to prevent them from reaching "dangerously high temperatures that would burn human flesh."

Verrill is paralyzed from the waist down and can't feel hot and cold in her lower body.

She tells the Portland Press Herald her burn was so serious it required surgery and months in bed.

She's seeking unspecified damages.

Verrill grew up in Yarmouth and now lives in Texas.

GM denied the seat heater was defective or dangerous, denied causing Verrill's injury, and denied knowledge of a defect or failure to fix a defect.

Cops: Teen ma­d­e school-shootin­g threats as prank

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) - A 15-year-old boy arrested Sunday on suspicion of posting online threats to shoot students at Southern California schools apparently did so as a prank, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.

The teen, who was arrested after investigators served a search warrant at his home, wrote the posts to get a reaction from his friends, officials said.

The suspect "actually had no intention of carrying out these threats," Deputy Joshua Dubin said at a news conference. "We still take it very seriously."

Detectives began investigating the threats late Saturday after receiving more than two dozen phone calls about posts on Instagram from someone threatening to shoot high school students on an unspecified date, authorities said.

The posts, which have since been removed, included photos of guns, dead bodies and a sign for a Valencia High School, Lt. Brenda Cambra said. However, the sign was from a school with the same name in another state, she said.

"Valencia High School has been nominated to be shot up first," one post read, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The gun photos were stock photos from the Internet, Cambra said.

No weapons were found during a search of the home, Dubin said.

The posts included threats against women and minorities, authorities said.

Man sentenced to 40 years for wife's slaying

COVINGTON, Va. (AP) - A Covington man convicted of killing his wife and burying her in a cemetery will spend 40 years in prison.

Adan Quiroz Rodriguez received a 32-year sentence for first-degree murder, a five-year sentence for concealing a body and a three-year sentence for using a firearm to commit a felony. The sentences are to run consecutively.

The Roanoke Times reports that Rodriguez was sentenced Friday in Alleghany County Circuit Court.

Rodriguez pleaded no contest to the charges earlier this year.

Officers with the Alleghany County Sheriff's Office found the remains of Rodriguez's wife, Ashley Rodriguez, in a shallow grave at Allegany Memorial Park last year. Police say Adan Rodriguez worked at the cemetery at the time.

U.S. marshals arrested Adan Rodriguez on May 30, 2013, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Stray voltage lawsuit heard in Wood County

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) - A central Wisconsin couple wants a utility company to pay for the loss of their dairy farm which they blame on stray voltage.

Steven and Annette Weyerts are suing Wisconsin Power and Light Company, saying the utility misled them about voltage levels on their farm in Junction City. The Weyerts say stray voltage hurt or killed their cows and forced them to sell their herd and auction their equipment in 2009. Stray voltage is low-level voltage between two contact points where electricity is grounded.

In Wood County Circuit Court, the Weyerts are asking for damages for lost milk production, the fair market value of their herd, injury to their dairy animals, excessive veterinary expenses and the loss of their farm, according to Stevens Point Journal Media.

The Weyerts said Wisconsin Power and Light tested the farm for stray voltage in 2008 with the knowledge that the Weyerts planned to buy the farm and move their herd to the property. The lawsuit said a utility employee told the Weyerts that his tests found 0.5 volts of stray voltage; one volt and above is considered cause for concern.

The plaintiffs say an unlabeled circuit breaker box that was in need of repair was never disclosed when they bought the farm.

Suspect in drug house killing wants to marry

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The man accused of killing three of four people slain in the robbery of an Indianapolis drug house is asking a judge for permission to get married while he is in jail awaiting trial.

Attorneys for 24-year-old Kenneth Rackemann made the request in court filings last week. The Indianapolis Star reports Rackemann wants to marry his fiance, Tia Brassfield, but the filing says jail officials won't permit the marriage without the judge's approval.

A Marion County judge has already denied permission once.

Rackemann's attorneys have also filed documents fighting prosecutors' request for the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Rackemann was the primary triggerman in the February slayings on the city's south side. Three other people also are charged.