Court Roundup


Resentencing ordered for man convicted as minor

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Supreme Court has ordered a resentencing for an inmate who has served nearly 40 years in prison for a crime committed when he was 16 years old.

Billy Ray Smith, who is now 59, challenged the life sentence he received in Pike County for rape. Smith, who represented himself in court filings, argued that a life sentence without parole for a non-homicide offense was illegal for a juvenile, and the state's highest court agreed on Thursday.

The court sent Smith's case back to Pike County Circuit Court with orders that his sentence be modified to 50 years.

Smith, who is being held at the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys, has been incarcerated since January 1977.


Jury acquits men accused of killing two prostitutes

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Two men, including a former police officer, have been acquitted in the slayings of two western Kentucky brothel workers 22 years ago.

The Kentucky New Era reports a jury acquitted 46-year-old Ed Carter and 42-year-old Frank Black of murder Wednesday in the cold-case deaths of 18-year-old Gloria Ross and 22-year-old Candace Belt. The women were shot and stabbed at New Life Massage Parlor in Oak Grove in September 1994.

Carter was an Oak Grove police officer who authorities say was seeing a prostitute and taking money from the brothel's owners. Carter and Black were charged in 2013.

The prosecution never presented evidence linking Carter and Black, who lived in Clarksville and worked at a Nashville hotel.

Carter's attorney Michael Bufkin says the case was based on suspicion, not evidence.


Juror sues county for $666,700 over courthouse trip

BEND, Ore. (AP) - A woman who says she suffered a serious head injury after tripping on a sidewalk outside the courthouse in downtown Bend seeks $666,700 in a lawsuit against Deschutes County.

The suit filed Tuesday says Phyllis Hinton was at the county courthouse two years ago to perform jury duty. When finished for the day, she stumbled on an uneven cobblestone sidewalk and was taken to St. Charles Medical Center, where she spent the next three days.

Hinton asserts she still has short-term memory loss and is now on long-term disability leave from her job as a teller at a credit union.

The lawsuit faults the county for failing to properly maintain the sidewalk. Deputy County Administrator Erik Kropp told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the county does not comment on pending litigation.


@ROUND UP Briefs Headline:Woman allegedly faked suicide to avoid prison

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Prosecutors say a California woman feigned suicide to avoid a prison sentence.

The Sacramento Bee reports that documents say the woman was previously sentenced to 20 months in prison for mortgage fraud and was supposed to begin her sentence in February 2014, but ran away and left a note that made it look like she had killed herself.

The 41-year-old woman was arrested Aug. 26 in Sacramento. Authorities say she was a passenger in a vehicle that her husband was driving.

A U.S. attorney's office news release says the woman was arraigned in federal court Tuesday and is charged with failing to surrender to serve a sentence and obstructing justice.

Her 43-year-old husband was charged with harboring a fugitive.


Cops say suspect tried to dissolve heroin by peeing

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - Police say a Pennsylvania drug suspect was all wet when he urinated in his pants in hopes that would dissolve some heroin and cocaine officers say they found in his pocket.

The (Scranton) Times-Tribune says that happened Tuesday after 42-year-old Wesley Autrey allegedly sold some heroin during an undercover sting in Scranton.

When police tried to arrest Autrey afterward, he struggled and had to be subdued with a stun gun.

Police say Autrey then began peeing his pants as they searched him. Police say Autrey was unable to dissolve five small bags of heroin and four small bags of cocaine found in his right front pocket, along with $3,000.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Autrey who remained in the Lackawanna County jail unable to post bond Thursday.

Rhode Island

@ROUND UP Briefs Headline:Couple dumped manure near wedding venue

EXETER, R.I. (AP) - The owner of a Rhode Island farm has filed a lawsuit against his neighbors alleging that the couple dumped a large pile of manure near his property hours before he hosted an outdoor wedding.

WJAR-TV reports Gerald Zarrella filed the suit against James and Diane Lynch on Wednesday in Washington Superior Court.

In the lawsuit, Zarrella claims the Lynches dumped raw chicken waste close to the site of the nuptials on his 32-acre farm in Exeter last Friday. He says wedding guests and vendors were overcome by the odor and some even became physically ill.

Zarrella alleges his neighbors are upset that he's been hosting commercial events on his property and the dumping was retaliation.

Attempts to reach James and Diane Lynch for comment were not returned.

Published: Fri, Sep 16, 2016