Court Roundup

New Mexico
Santa Fe asks judge to uphold ban on small liquor bottles

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Santa Fe City Council is asking a judge to uphold its decision to ban the sale of small bottles of liquor.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports ( ) that the city government also wants District Judge Sarah Singleton of Santa Fe to dismiss claims filed by liquor businesses challenging the law.

The council voted in April to ban the sale of liquor in bottles of 8 ounces or less. In court documents, the city says the law, which will take effect Oct. 8., is meant to reduce litter.

Liquor stores say it will hurt business and argue that the state government has authority over alcohol sales.

The city filed for a judgment in May in hopes of preventing a lawsuit by seven businesses.

Lawyers for the businesses didn't return a message requesting comment.

Report: Most prison killers had pasts of violence

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Most prison killers in Ohio were already serving time for violent crimes, including several with some version of a murder charge, according to a report released Wednesday on homicides behind bars over the past 15 years.

Most homicides happened in higher security facilities and involved weapons less than half the time, and most often were committed by offenders serving longer sentences, according to the report by the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.

In total, 26 inmates were killed in Ohio prisons from 2000 through 2014, according to the bipartisan legislative group.

All victims were men and the majority of inmates killed were white, while perpetrators were equally likely to be black or white. No one died as a result of a gang hit, the report said, which noted Ohio's prison homicide rate is lower than the national average.

Three homicides involved inmates killed because their original crime involved children, according to the report.

The first homicide documented in the report happened Nov. 13, 2000, when Timothy Hancock strangled Jason Wagner within hours of Wagner becoming Hancock's cellmate at Warren Correctional Institution in southwestern Ohio.

Hancock, 45, of Lima, was already serving a life term for another murder. Wagner was serving 44 years to life for the 1999 kidnapping and attempted murder of a 3-year-old girl from Lancaster in central Ohio.

Hancock "stated that he had executed Victim for what Victim did to the little girl," according to the CIIC report.

Hancock was sentenced to death for killing Wagner, then received another life sentence after the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the death sentence because jurors were allowed to see inflammatory evidence, including crime scene photos, while deliberating.

Mayor charged with paying for sex with man

BATESVILLE, Ind. (AP) - The 60-year-old mayor of a small southeastern Indiana city has been charged with patronizing a male prostitute, while the man he is alleged to have had sex with is accused of failing to disclose his HIV status and attempting to blackmail the dignitary.

Richard Fledderman, the three-term mayor of Batesville, paid Randy Wigle-Stevens for sex in June, state police spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said in a statement Tuesday.

Wigle-Stevens, 42, did not tell Fledderman that he has HIV before they had sex and later threatened to go public with details of their encounter unless the mayor paid him extra money, Wheeles said.

The statement does not disclose the amount of money that passed hands nor how much money was additionally demanded by Wigle-Stevens in return for his silence. The HIV status of the mayor has not been disclosed.

Fledderman was arrested on the misdemeanor charge Tuesday, and the same day, Wigle-Stevens was charged with a felony count of failure to disclose dangerous communicable disease status and misdemeanor counts of prostitution and intimidation.

The Associated Press couldn't reach Fledderman for comment Wednesday. His home phone rang unanswered and he didn't immediately respond to an email or a phone message left at his office in Batesville, 45 miles west of Cincinnati.

No court date has been scheduled for Fledderman. Wigle-Stevens, of Indianapolis, was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

The Associated Press could not immediately find contact details for Wigle-Stevens.

Court records do not indicate if either man has hired an attorney.

On his website, the mayor describes Batesville as a "city committed to faith, family, education and a strong economy." It is home to some 7,000 residents. He was elected to three four-year terms, but was defeated in the May Democratic primary by Elmer "Mike" Vonderheid.

State Court of Appeals upholds murder conviction

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - A Pontotoc man will not get a new trial in the 1999 murder of a woman and her unborn child.

Eric Brown argued that his fundamental rights were violated because the Circuit Court did not conduct a competency hearing before accepting his guilty plea.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports the Mississippi Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied Brown's motion and affirmed both the conviction and Brown's life sentence.

In January 1999, Brown was involved in relationships with two women. He had children with both. A few days after marrying one woman, Brown met the other woman behind a Pontotoc restaurant. Brown reportedly strangled Shorelonda Moore, who was several months pregnant with Brown's child.

Brown and his new wife then drove Moore's car to Memphis, parked it in an alley, doused it with gasoline and set it on fire. Moore's body was found the next day.

In November 1999, Brown pleaded guilty to the murder of Moore and the manslaughter of the unborn child. He was sentenced to life plus 20 years.

New York
Lawsuit alleging sex abuse by guard reinstated

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A federal appeals court has reinstated the lawsuit filed by two former New York inmates alleging sex abuse by a state prison guard, concluding it would be a civil rights violation if true.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals says Judge Norman Modue erred last year in dismissing the lawsuit by Thaddeus Corley and James Crawford, sending the case back for other motions and possible trial.

Corley and Crawford allege corrections officer Simon Prindle sexually abused them at Eastern Correctional Facility in Ulster County, violating their constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment.

The appeals court says a guard's intentional contact with an inmate's genitals to humiliate the prisoner or satisfy personal desires violates the Eighth Amendment.

The court says sex abuse of inmates "deeply offends today's standards of decency."

Man accused of shooting at crop-dusting plane

EMMETSBURG, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have filed terrorism and other charges against a 55-year-old man accused of firing a bullet that struck a crop-dusting plane in northern Iowa.

Online court records say John Metzger, of Whittemore, also is charged with stalking with a weapon, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and going armed with intent. His attorney didn't immediately return a call Wednesday from The Associated Press, seeking comment on the allegations.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office says the plane owned by Steier AG Aviation was hit in a wing flap while spraying a field in Fairfield Township on July 31. The plane was landed safely at Steier's landing strip in Whittemore. The pilot, whose name hasn't been released, wasn't injured.

Published: Thu, Aug 13, 2015