National Roundup

Toddler won’t testify in father’s murder trial

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge says a toddler who witnessed her mother’s death will not have to testify in her father’s murder trial.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword ruled the child would not have to testify about the 2015 death of her mother. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the trial of the child’s father, who is accused of killing his ex-wife and kidnapping their daughter and fleeing to Ohio.

Prosecutors wanted to use tapes of an interview with the then 2-year-old girl as evidence. They said they would need the now 4-year-old girl to introduce the tapes from the witness stand.

Sword listened to the interview and ruled the girl was unable to describe a “coherent historical recitation” of what she saw.

Trooper’s widow sues sniper’s parents for son’s actions

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — The widow of a Pennsylvania state trooper has sued the parents of a man convicted in her late husband’s killing.

Tiffany Dickson, widow of Cpl. Bryon Dickson II, says in the wrongful death suit that Eugene and Deborah Frein psychologically manipulated their son “into developing a strong dislike for police and acting on that dislike.”

Thirty-four-year-old Eric Frein was living with his parents in Canadensis when Dickson was fatally shot and Trooper Alex Douglas was wounded outside their barracks in 2014.

Frein was caught after a 48-day manhunt. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in April.

An attorney for his parents didn’t respond to calls from newspapers that first reported the lawsuit. The couple also didn’t immediately return a call Monday from The Associated Press.

Rhode Island
2 charged with taking $22K from people on social media

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Authorities say two Providence residents have been charged in a social media scheme that bilked victims out of more than $22,000.

The Providence Journal reports that state police allege Zaria Harrell solicited money from people on social media and said she’d send back 10 times the amount sent to her. Police say Harrell and Isaiah Pinkerton would pick up money wired to them at sites in North Providence and Providence.

An arrest affidavit says Harrell collected money from 148 people living in 29 states since last September.

Harrell was arrested this month and charged with obtaining money under false pretenses, conspiracy and other offenses. She was released on bail. Pinkerton faces the same charges and is being held as a probation violator.
Court records don’t list an attorney for either defendant.

South Carolina
Forced sex claim against former deputy settled

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — A woman who accused a former South Carolina sheriff’s deputy of forcing her into a sex act has settled a civil lawsuit.

The Times & Democrat of Orangeburg reports Monday that the woman received a $350,000 settlement earlier this year from the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund. The newspaper obtained details on the settlement through an open records request.

Former Orangeburg County Deputy Dereck Johnson pleaded guilty earlier this month to misconduct in office and is serving probation and community service. Johnson was fired last year after the woman accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex on him, threatening to arrest her boyfriend if she refused.

After the incident, the woman told The Associated Press she feared no one would believe the allegation.

Funeral director arrested over corpse pictures

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania funeral director has been charged with abusing corpses and other crimes for allegedly taking cellphone pictures of the dead to “gross out” her friends and family.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ange­liegha Stewart also faces a marijuana charge, after Monroe County detectives found conversations about deals when they searched her phone last month amid their investigation into the photos.

Authorities say Stewart took pictures of one corpse during an organ-harvesting process and others of a decomposing corpse. Some of the corpses were in caskets; some were not.

Authorities on Monday were still identifying the corpses.

Online court records show Stewart applied for a public defender, but that office said Monday it doesn’t represent her. Officials with the Lanterman & Allen Funeral Home in East Stroudsburg didn’t immediately return a call.

FBI: ‘Double Hat Bandit’ robbery suspect arrested

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A 54-year-old man suspected of robbing banks in seven states has been arrested in Indiana.

The FBI announced on Friday that Shayne Carson was arrested Thursday without incident in the parking lot of a motel in Whiteland, Indiana. Carson is scheduled to be transferred to Utah to face a bank robbery charge stemming from a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City, Utah.

According to the complaint, Carson is believed to be the “Double Hat Bandit.” Carson allegedly wore two hats — typically a beanie over a baseball cap — during 13 bank robberies throughout Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Idaho since last December. All banks hit were inside grocery stores.

Carson is also a suspect in additional bank robberies in Colorado, Iowa and Ohio. Those incidents are still under investigation.

South Carolina
Couple charged in baby’s death
SOCASTEE, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina couple has been arrested after the remains of a baby missing since July were found.
Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler told local media outlets the remains of 9-month-old Aaliyana McCoy were found Saturday in the Socastee area. Fowler said he thinks the girl died around July 15. Her body has been sent to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston to determine the cause of death.
Myrtle Beach police stated an investigation last week after receiving word the baby had not been seen since July.
The baby’s mother, 19-year-old Ladasha Harriett, has been charged with homicide by child abuse. Police said Harriett’s boyfriend, 22-year-old Daquan Jamal Simmons, is also charged with homicide by child abuse.
It was not known if they have attorneys yet.