National Roundup

Victim’s dad sues deputy who didn’t enter school

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The father of a student killed in a mass shooting at a Florida high school is suing the armed officer who stood outside the building as people were massacred within.

Meadow Pollack was among the 17 killed on Valentine’s Day in a freshman building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Her father, Andrew Pollack, said Scot Peterson, the former sheriff’s deputy and the school’s resource officer, is his main target in the wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday in Broward County.

“He let my daughter get shot nine times at point-blank range,” Pollack told the Miami Herald. “He had the opportunity to go in and instead, let all those people get murdered.”

The lawsuit also names 19-year-old shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz; the estate of Cruz’s mother, who died in November; and James and Kimberly Snead, the couple who took Cruz in after his mother died. It also names three behavioral and mental health facilities that evaluated Cruz at some point before the shooting.

Peterson, 54, was suspended with pay and then immediately resigned and retired on Feb. 23, when video surveillance footage from the school showed he never entered the building when the gunfire began.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel condemned Peterson’s actions, saying he should have gone inside.

“Peterson is my main target,” Pollack said. “He could have stopped it. Could have saved my kid. Nobody should be able to not do their job, receive a pension and ride off into the sunset.”

The lawsuit details Cruz’s troubled life, saying the teen “suffered from severe mental illness and was prone to violence.”

When Cruz arrived at the high school on Feb. 14, the lawsuit claims a “pusillanimous” Peterson “cowered in a safe location between two concrete walls” as the gunman “rained bullets upon the teachers and students.”

Peterson, a 33-year veteran law enforcement officer, pushed back against critics in a statement issued by attorney Joseph DiRuzzo shortly after the shooting. “Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue,” the statement said.

Pollack said he wants to let people know that Peterson is a “coward.”

“My daughter died crawling by a doorway — shielding a classmate who also ended up dying — waiting for someone to come help her. Help never came.”

Lawyer in 1999 abductions, deaths wants case notes
VINITA, Okla. (AP) — The attorney for a man accused in the 1999 deaths of an Oklahoma couple and the disappearance of two 16-year-old girls wants the mother of one of the teens to turn over notes from her own private investigation.
Attorney Gretchen Mosley requested the notes Monday during the first court appearance of 66-year-old Ronnie Dean Busick, who is charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
Authorities say Danny and Kathy Freeman of Craig County were shot to death on Dec. 30, 1999. Their daughter, Ashley, and her friend Lauria Bible disappeared the same day and have never been found. Lauria had spent the night at the Freemans’ home.
A motion filed by Mosley says notes from witness interviews conducted by Lorene Bible, Lauria’s mother, could be used to question witnesses.

Couple plead guilty to helping forge man’s will
EL DORADO, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas couple has pleaded guilty to helping forge the will of a survivor of an oil rig explosion who later died in a car crash, sending most of his $1.7 million estate to an ex-girlfriend.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that John Kinley Jr. of Camden pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in El Dorado to wire fraud and his wife, Marion Kinley pleaded guilty to conspiracy. The two admitted they signed as witnesses to the fake will, awarding $1.3 million from Matthew Seth Jacobs’ estate to Jordan Alexandra Peterson.
The will was created by Peterson’s mother, Donna Herring days after Jacobs’ 2015 death. Herring and Peterson each pleaded guilty in January to charges in the case.
Jacobs fortune was from a settlement he received after surviving the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Appeal of life sentence to be heard for woman who killed at 16
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Attorneys for a woman who killed a man when she was a 16-year-old prostitute say she was a sex-trafficking victim afraid for her life — but prosecutors say she killed the man to rob him.
Both sides will make oral arguments next month in her appeal of her sentence of life without parole.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set a June 14 court date for the case of 29-year-old Cyntoia Brown in front of a three-judge panel in Cincinnati.
Brown has been in prison since 2004, when she was convicted of killing the 43-year-old man who had solicited her.
She cannot be paroled until she’s at least 67.
Celebrities including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West have called for her release.

New York
Ashley Judd wants movie mogul Weinstein held accountable
NEW YORK (AP) — Ashley Judd is suing Harvey Weinstein and said Tuesday she wants the former movie mogul to be held accountable for “illegal conduct” that caused her to lose money, status, prestige and power.
Judd was in the first group of women who came forward last fall about Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, putting her at the forefront of the #MeToo movement. She spoke on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, one day after filing a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Judd says Weinstein hurt her acting career in retaliation for her rejecting his sexual advances.
Her lawsuit goes beyond many sexual harassment suits by invoking unfair competition laws against fraudulent business practices in an attempt to “shine a light on the broader economic damages caused when individuals in positions of authority attempt to punish those who have resisted their improper advances,” said Judd’s attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr.
Judd, 50, said in her television interview that her ultimate goal is to encourage “safe and legal workplaces.” She said it feels wonderful to take a stand on behalf of her “younger self.”