National Roundup

Al-Qaida suspect linked to cartoonist plot pleads not guilty

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An al-Qaida suspect linked to a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges.

A lawyer for 52-year-old Ali Charaf Damache, of Algeria, says his client appeared in federal court Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges he was involved in a terror cell that wanted to kill a cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog.

Records show Damache is being held in a federal detention center in Philadelphia.

Prosecutors say the Ireland-based terror cell included a Pennsylvania woman known as Jihad Jane.

Damache is known as The Black Flag. He was brought from Spain to Philadelphia last month to be tried in a civilian court despite President Donald Trump’s promise to send terror suspects to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Man pleads guilty to using drug-smuggling tunnel

CALEXICO, Calif. (AP) — A man accused of operating a drug-smuggling tunnel in California has pleaded guilty after being arrested in May.

The 35-year-old spent nearly six years in a Mexico prison for gun trafficking before being arrested in the U.S.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday that Habib Mujica pleaded guilty to conspiring to finance, construct and use the drug-smuggling tunnel discovered in Calexico six years ago.

Homeland Security Investigations agents discovered the tunnel at a warehouse in 2011.

Mujica says in his plea agreement that he intended to run a business called Baja Bikes as a front to conceal illegal activities.

He faces up to 40 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.

Man charged in Charlottesville rally fights extradition

CINCINNATI (AP) — An 18-year-old Ohio man charged in connection to violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is fighting extradition to Virginia.

Daniel Borden, of suburban Cincinnati, appeared by video Tuesday and declined to waive extradition. Hamilton County Magistrate Michael Bachman set bond at $100,000 and scheduled a Sept. 29 hearing.
Borden was arrested recently on a charge of malicious wounding.

Attorney Greg Berberich said earlier that Borden was struck in the head and tear-gassed multiple times, and he sought protection from Charlottesville police. He says Borden’s family expects him to be exonerated.

James Alex Fields Jr., of the Toledo, Ohio, area, is accused of driving a car into counterprotesters on Aug. 12 and killing Heather Heyer. He has been charged with second-degree murder.

Prosecutor reviewing fever death at hospital

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania prosecutor is reviewing the death of a 6-year-old boy whose temperature topped 107 degrees (41.7 Celsius) while he was under a special heating blanket at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in January.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health last week announced it cited the hospital, saying there are no records that the boy’s temperature was taken during a 10-hour period, and because the hospital didn’t report the “serious event” until 77 days later. Such incidents are supposed to be reported within 24 hours.

The hospital has launched its own investigation and taken corrective steps, but Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico wants to review the incident. He stopped short of calling that a full-blown investigation.

The boy, who had other health issues, had a below-normal temperature and was put under the blanket to raise his temperature.

Body found after daughter gets letter saying mom is dead

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Police in Florida found the body of a 62-year-old woman at a mobile home park after her daughter received a letter saying her mother was dead.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports Millisi Wells asked police to check on her mother, Debra Jean Place. She said she’d received a letter from her mother’s partner saying Place was dead and he would be soon.
An officer went to the home and found Place’s decomposed body on the floor of the mobile home’s living room. An incident report says Wells had tried to reach her mother’s partner but couldn’t make contact with him. Police pinged his cellphone and located him. He was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.

Mother gets up to 45 years for locking son in bathroom

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — A 36-year-old southern Utah mother whose malnourished son was found in a feces-strewn bathroom where authorities believe he had been locked away for about a year has been sentenced to up to 45 years in state prison.

The Spectrum reports the woman was ordered Monday to serve consecutive one-to-15-year terms for her guilty pleas in July to three felony charges of intentional child abuse.

The Associated Press is not naming the woman or the child’s father to avoid identifying the boy.

The boy weighed 30 pounds when he was found in January with one blanket and a few empty cans of beans in the filthy bathroom with camera surveillance in the city of Toquerville.

Fifth District Court Judge Eric Ludlow called the case unbelievable and the mother’s actions deplorable.

Prosecutors consider charges carrying death sentence for man

LACEY, Wash. (AP) — A man who is accused of killing his estranged wife and mother-in-law, raping his 11-year-old stepdaughter and kidnapping her and his 3-year-old son has made his first appearance in court after spending nearly a month in the hospital.

The Olympian reports 32-year-old Ricardo A. Gardin-Gonzalez is being held without bail in the Thurston County jail after being deemed healthy enough for release from the hospital. Police say Gardin-Gonzalez shot himself at the end of the deadly crime-spree. He is also accused of shooting at officers.

The Prosecutor’s Office is exploring whether to file more serious charges against him, including aggravated first-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of death.
The prosecution delayed Gardin-Gonzalez’s arraignment until Sept. 26 to give the office time to make a charging decision.