National Roundup

New Hampshire
Women sue groom, event company after being hit by drone

BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — Two women are suing a groom and the event company that ran his wedding reception after they allege he flew a drone that hit them in the head at the New Hampshire event.

Kneena Ellis, of Seabrook, and Kelly Eaton of Peabody, Massachusetts, claim in their Dec. 1 suit that they suffered permanent physical and emotional injury as a result of the Aug. 8 incident.

The suit says Barry Billcliff had flown the drone to take pictures at his wedding reception at Searles Castle in Windham.

It says the drone collided with the women while they were on the dance floor. The suit says they suffered a concussion.

Billcliff tells the Boston Herald ( he owns the drone, but wasn’t operating it when it crashed. Scott Robb II, vice president of Searles Castle, said he never gave Billcliff permission to fly the drone.

Lawsuit: ‘Abysmal mismanagement’ led to prison riot

RAYMONDVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas county says “abysmal mismanagement” led to a 2015 prison riot that destroyed much of the facility.

Willacy County says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that in the weeks after the riot at Willacy County Correctional Center, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons cancelled its management contract with Utah-based Management & Training Corp.

The federal lawsuit says the prison was subsequently closed and about 400 employees were laid off.

The Valley Morning Star reports that the prison generated about $2.7 million a year for the rural county.

Much of the 3,000-bed facility, which was comprised of tent-like domes, was destroyed in the Feb. 20, 2015, riot.

Management & Training has denied the allegations.

Hog carcass dumped outside Islamic center

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after the carcass of a wild hog was dumped in the parking lot of an Islamic center in Oklahoma.

Lawton Police spokesman Sgt. Tim Jenkins says security cameras showed a person dropping the carcass at about 2 a.m. Wednesday at the Islamic Center of Lawton, about 75 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
The Lawton Constitution reports that a police sergeant spotted the bloody carcass Wednesday morning and contacted the city’s animal control division, which removed the hog.

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, prohibits Muslims from eating pork, and pigs have been used to taunt or offend Muslims.

Hassan Ahmed, the director of the center, says he’s not particularly concerned about finding the culprit and instead wants to educate the community about Islam.

Deaf ex-inmate files complaint against jail

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A former jail inmate who is deaf has filed a federal complaint against a southwestern Washington county alleging his rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Columbian reports 42-year-old Eric Studer is seeking $200,000 in damages as well as injunctive relief to force the Clark County Jail to fully accommodate inmates who are deaf or hearing impaired.

Roggendorf Law of Lake Oswego, Ore., and Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala of Tacoma on Dec. 2 filed the complaint and demand for jury trial.

The complaint says the jail discriminated against Studer, who is fluent in American Sign Language, and all inmates who are deaf.

Studer contends the county knew he was deaf based on prior incarcerations but jail staff still failed to accommodate him.

Clark County Jail Chief Ric Bishop says he cannot comment on the specifics of the case.

Teenager pleads guilty to role in woman’s murder

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — A teenager has acknowledged her role in the death of a woman allegedly killed by a former town board member in the northern Colorado community of Pierce and a group of bikers.

Prosecutors say 19-year-old Karly Hanchett pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to commit first-degree murder and participating in a violent crime causing death. She was one of seven people charged in the September 2015 death of 34-year-old Tera Lewandowski, whose remains were found near Cheyenne, Wyoming.

According to court documents, former Pierce Town Board member Daniel Meyer told authorities he killed Lewandowski after a hit was approved by his biker gang leader over an argument about drugs.

Hanchett is accused of hitting Lewandowski in the head with an object before Meyer stabbed the woman. She faces up to 48 years in prison.

Man charged with killing bear that caused stir

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — A black bear that caused a stir in an east Alabama city is no more.

The bear was killed in the Talladega National Forest in Clay County, and a Talladega man faces charges for killing the animal, Capt. Johnny Johnson with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries told the Opelika-Auburn News on Thursday.

Johnson said he didn’t know what day the bear was killed, but Matthew Gage Stewart, 22, of Talladega has been arrested and charged with shooting a black bear, a Class A misdemeanor.

The bear was killed with a crossbow, Johnson said.

If convicted, Stewart could face a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to a year in jail. Court records do not show a defense attorney who could speak on Stewart’s behalf.

Officials were able to identify the bear from a tag that was placed on it after its encounter with wildlife officials in Opelika on June 29, Johnson said.

“It was (an) over 300-pound male bear,” Johnson said. “.It was healthy. A biologist looked at it and there was nothing wrong with it.”

When the bear was spotted in Opelika, he closed down streets and brought out onlookers as officials tried to capture it in June. The bear also caused a stir locally online with social media posts about the bear tagged with the hashtag #OpelikaBear. Local ice cream shop, O-Town Ice Cream issued a special flavor in honor of the bear, bear claw coconut.

Alabama Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement personnel, with the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences faculty, tranquilized the bear, loaded it in into an Opelika police trailer and transported it to a wild area where it was released.