National Roundup

New Jersey
Disinherited daughter's appeal over will denied

HADDONFIELD, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey woman who claims her father wrongly disinherited her because of her romantic relationship with a Jewish man has lost another round in her legal fight to set aside the will.

A New Jersey appellate court recently upheld a lower court ruling that found Kenneth Jameson did nothing illegal when he specified that his only surviving child, Stacy Wolin, should not get anything from his estate. Jameson contended that his daughter had not returned "the love, care and concern which I lavished" on her and instead "acted toward me with selfishness, manipulation, cruelty and with abusiveness."

Jameson was 81 when he died in April 2014. The Haddonfield man left his estate to a nonprofit that serves people with developmental disabilities.

Wolin claims the will, drafted in 1987, should be set aside because her father's decision stemmed from religious bias. She contended that her father's actions violated the state's bias laws and that the will's "fabricated" criticism of her was libelous.

Wolin said her parents disowned her because she refused to end a relationship with a Jewish student at her college who she eventually married.

In the ruling issued Friday, the appellate court noted that state anti-discrimination laws don't outlaw disinheritances based on alleged religious biases.

Even though a will may be "contrary to the principles of justice and humanity (and) its provisions may be shockingly unnatural and unfair," the appellate panel said courts are required to uphold wills if the person drafting the document was competent and of sufficient age.

Attorneys for both sides declined comment.

New York
NYC settles fatal police shooting lawsuit for $4M

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City has reached a settlement of more than $4 million with the family of an unarmed man fatally shot by a police officer in a darkened stairwell nearly two years ago, the attorney for the family said Tuesday.

The city is paying $4.1 million and the New York City Housing Authority is contributing $400,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of 28-year-old Akai Gurley.

The city's Law Department called the settlement a "fair resolution of a tragic matter."

Former Officer Peter Liang was on patrol in November 2014 when he opened a stairwell door at a public housing building and suddenly fired. The bullet ricocheted and hit Gurley. Liang will pay $25,000 to Kim Ballinger, the mother of Gurley's daughter as part of the settlement.

Liang was sentenced to five years' probation and 800 hours of community service; he later apologized to Gurley's family.

Family attorney Scott Rynecki said the parties reached the settlement "after extensive negotiations guided by Supreme Court Justice Dawn Jimenez-Salta."

"I'm glad it's all done. I'm pleased with the outcome," Ballinger told the Daily News.

The case became a flashpoint for police accountability. The shooting came just months after the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York prompted protests and a nationwide discussion of police killings.

Liang's supporters said he has been made a scapegoat for past injustices. More than 10,000 of his backers rallied in New York and across the U.S. after the verdict, protesting his conviction.

Liang was a rookie patrolling a pitch-dark stairwell with his gun drawn while Gurley headed down to the lobby because the elevator was out of order. Liang said he was startled by a noise, fired accidentally and didn't immediately realize his bullet had hit someone.

A jury convicted him of manslaughter, but Brooklyn state Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun said prosecutors hadn't proven key elements of that charge and reduced it to criminally negligent homicide, a lowest-level felony. He said there was no need for prison "to have a just sentence in this case."

Sheriff: Man kills couple, bites face of dead husband

TEQUESTA, Fla. (AP) - A man who may have been on hallucinogenic drugs fatally stabbed a couple at their home and wounded a would-be rescuer before deputies found him biting the dead man's face, authorities said Tuesday.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told reporters that a man in his 20s may have been on drugs when he attacked the couple at their Tequesta home late Monday and the neighbor who tried to stop him. Authorities were still trying to confirm the suspect's identity.

Snyder said deputies found the man on top of the dead husband and it took several attempts and a dog to pull him off. The names of the victims haven't been released. Snyder said the neighbor is hospitalized with "substantial trauma."

Snyder said deputies also are searching for a 26-year-old woman associated with the suspect, saying she might also be a victim.

Snyder said the attacker had an unspecified relationship with the couple, who were in their late 40s or early 50s, and the attack was not random.

Snyder said the attacker might have been under the influence of Flakka, a synthetic street drug known for causing psychotic outbursts.

"I wouldn't be surprised to find out if it was Flakka," Snyder said, but that won't be known until toxicology reports are in.

Tequesta is a small, affluent community on the Atlantic coast about 20 miles north of Palm Beach.

Flakka had a brief burst in popularity in late 2014 and 2015, primarily in South Florida, but its usage quickly waned after stories circulated about users' deaths and mental breakdowns, and a crackdown was carried out in China, where it has been manufactured.

Trial set for whistleblower suit against Penn State

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - A judge has set an Oct. 17 trial date for the whistleblower lawsuit filed by former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary.

McQueary was placed on leave by Penn State in 2011 following revelations he reported that a boy was being sexually abused by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The school president said at the time that it became clear that McQueary "would not be able to function in a coaching role." Sandusky was later convicted of child sex crimes.

McQueary's lawsuit contends his coaching career and personal life were harmed since he reported Sandusky.

Penn State officials sought to delay the trial until after criminal charges were resolved against three former administrators.

A Centre County judge on Monday ordered McQueary's suit to be heard, citing his "ongoing economic harm."

Published: Wed, Aug 17, 2016