National Roundup

New York
Man hid dr­ugs in stuffed animal

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - State police say they've arrested a 22-year-old New York man after he was found with marijuana, cocaine and LSD hidden inside a stuffed animal dressed in an anti-drug T-shirt.

Troopers say Gregory Bolongnese, of Plattsburgh, was arrested Monday at the bus station in his hometown near the Canadian border. They say they found two grams of pot, about a half-gram of cocaine and LSD inside a stuffed lion doll wearing a D.A.R.E. shirt.

D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, a program that aims to educate young people about staying away from drugs, gangs and violence.

Bolognese was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. It couldn't be determined if he has a lawyer.

50 dead cats found in freezers in Florida home

LAKE WORTH, Fla. (AP) - Detectives found 50 dead cats in four freezers at the home of a South Florida man while serving a warrant for child pornography.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's officials say they went to the home of 55-year-old Douglas Westcott on Wednesday to arrest him on three counts of child porn. Once inside, they found more than 30 cats running around inside and dozens of dead cats in freezers.

The Palm Beach Post reports the litter boxes were overflowing with feces and urine. Most of the live cats were relatively healthy, but many had respiratory and skin problems.

Authorities say Westcott refused to give up custody of the cats.

Animal Care & Control officials removed the cats from the home. A judge has 30 days to determine whether Westcott can keep the cats.

Man arrested after discussing drugs on 911 call

MOUNT PLEASANT, Tenn. (AP) - A man has been arrested in Middle Tennessee after dispatchers heard him discussing drugs on an accidental 911 call.

WKRN-TV reports Grant O'Connor was charged with simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia after his Friday arrest in Mount Pleasant.

Dispatchers traced the call when they heard him talking about getting high and going to a drug dealer's house on an open line.

According to a police report, an officer located O'Connor in a car that was pulling out of a restaurant parking lot. The officer searched the car and found a bag of marijuana and drug paraphernalia underneath O'Connor's seat.

O'Connor was released on $3,500 bond the following day. There was no phone number listed for him in the phone directory.

New York
Dispute over Duke Ellington royalties in court

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's highest court is set to hear arguments by jazz composer Duke Ellington's heirs to reinstate their lawsuit against publisher EMI seeking half the royalties from foreign sales of his music.

The 2010 suit alleges breach of the 1961 standard songwriter royalty contract the late pianist, bandleader and composer signed with Mills Music, predecessor of EMI.

It calls for an even split of net revenue.

Ellington wrote "It Don't Mean a Thing" and other big band hits.

His heirs say EMI should stop deducting 50 percent commissions to foreign subpublishers, which it now owns, before splitting the rest with them.

A judge dismissed the suit, concluding that restriction applies only to Mills affiliates existing when the contract was signed.

The Court of Appeals' ruling is expected next month.

DA: Delay Slend­er Man hearing, to talk competency

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - Waukesha County prosecutors are asking that next week's preliminary hearing be postponed for one of the two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing and nearly killing a classmate to please the fictional horror character Slender Man.

Assistant prosecutor Ted Szczupakiewicz (zuh-PAK'-uh-witz) filed the request Wednesday. He was responding to a public defender's assertion that a forensic psychologist found his client mentally unfit for trial.

The public defender, Joseph Smith Jr., still wants next week's hearing held as scheduled. He hopes to have the girl's case heard in juvenile court, and worries that if she's found unfit in adult court she might not receive services appropriate for her age.

But Szczupakiewicz says the hearing should be postponed in favor of hearings to discuss the issue of the girl's competency.

There's no immediate indication of when the judge will issue a ruling.

State high court orders immediate removal of judge

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' highest court has ordered the immediate removal of a judge from office in addition to his lifetime ban from the bench for disclosing confidential details about an adoption involving actress Charlize Theron's child and making off-color remarks in an online forum.

Justices on Thursday accepted the lifetime ban that Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio and the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission agreed to, but rejected the panel's recommendation that he be suspended with pay until his term expires at the end of 2014. Instead, the court ordered his immediate removal from the bench.

Maggio admitted posting comments about Theron's adoption proceedings on an online forum dedicated to Louisiana State University sports fans. The adoption occurred in the same court division as Maggio's.

Trial next for man convicted of six deaths in Illinois

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A man already serving life sentences for each of six summertime 2008 killings in Illinois next will face trial in Missouri on charges he killed an Arkansas couple during the spree.

But it may be some time before Nicholas Sheley appears in front of a jury in Jefferson County near St. Louis or knows whether he'll be confronted with something he didn't have to worry about in Illinois - the death penalty, allowed in Missouri.

Jefferson County prosecutor Steven Jerrell said Wednesday that Illinois courts where Sheley has been convicted still haven't released evidence he needs to try him on charges linked to the killings of Jill and Tom Estes of Sherwood, Arkansas.

Jerrell said his office hasn't decided whether to pursue the death penalty.