National Roundup

Police officer who used stun gun on handcuffed man resigns

PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) — An officer who used a stun gun twice on a handcuffed, seated man has resigned from a Louisiana police department one day before a termination hearing.

Nolan Dehon III had been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday before the Port Allen City Council, to consider whether to fire him.

But Dehon resigned from the Port Allen Police Department on Monday, defense attorney Victor Woods told news agencies. Woods did not immediately respond to phone and email messages from The Associated Press.

A two-sentence letter obtained by WAFB-TV said he was resigning immediately because doing so was in the best interest of his family and the Port Allen community.

West Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Tony Clayton said he was unimpressed, and his office still planned to file criminal charges against Dehon, The Advocate reported.

Dehon has been arrested on felony charges of malfeasance in office and aggravated battery. Conviction on either charge would bar him from any future job in law enforcement.

The police department released another officer's body camera video in April, showing the arrest of 67year-old Izell Richardson Jr. on March 27.

It shows Dehon using a stun gun on Richardson and then saying, "Scream again."

Richardson filed a complaint March 29. The Port Allen police and the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office investigated the complaint and Duhon was later arrested. He is free on $15,000 bond, the newspaper reported.

Dental hygienist on trial in 1984 killing of recruit

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — A trial is underway for a 61-year-old man facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of a U.S. Navy recruit who was strangled and dumped in an overgrown field in central Florida 37 years ago.

Thomas Garner of Jacksonville has pleaded not guilty to killing Pamela Cahanes. He was arrested in March 2019 after investigators developed a DNA profile in the cold case, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The body of Cahanes was found on Aug. 5, 1984, two days after she graduated from boot camp at the Orlando Naval Training Center, the newspaper reported. She was naked except for a pair of white underwear. When the case was reopened in the 1990s, testing found semen on the underwear.

Investigators developed a DNA profile of the suspect and by 2018, they had the technology to build a "family tree" from that profile, the newspaper reported.

That led them to Garner, according to records prepared for the trial in Sanford.

While doing surveillance on Garner in February 2019, investigators saw him tossing a bag of garbage at his Jacksonville apartment. From that bag, they collected a cigarette butt, a cotton swab and a used piece of dental floss. DNA from those items matched the semen found on Cahanes' underwear, according to court records.

Prosecutors said Garner, a dental hygienist, had been stationed at the naval training center during the same time Cahanes was there.

Garner told investigators he didn't remember Cahanes and would not have hung out with or dated a recruit like her. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he repeated when told his DNA was found on her body.

Last month, Garner also came up as a preliminary DNA match in a September 1982 murder in Honolulu. Kathy Hicks, a Delta Air Lines employee from Atlanta, went missing during a visit to Hawaii. Her body was found beaten and strangled near a ravine, records show.

Similar to the Cahanes case, investigators matched DNA found on Hicks' underwear to Garner, who was stationed in Hawaii from April 1980 until October 1982.

Top court spurns appeal in Ball State student's 1994 killing

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has rebuffed a central Indiana man's appeal of his life sentence for fatally shooting a Ball State University student in 1994 during an attempted robbery.

The court issued an order Monday declining to hear Larry Wayne Newton Jr.'s appeal of a Delaware County judge's 2016 decision denying his bid for post-conviction relief, The Star Press reported.

"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision finally closes the book on this horrendous saga," Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman said Tuesday in a statement.

Newton was 17 in September 1994 when the Muncie resident fatally shot Christopher Coyle — a 19-year-old Ball State University student from Pendleton — during an attempted off-campus robbery.

Newton pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, as had been specified in his plea agreement.

In 2016, Delaware Circuit Court Judge Linda Ralu Wolf denied Newton's bid for post-conviction relief, ruling that he had been an "eager and willing participant" in Coyle's killing.

The Indiana Supreme Court declined in December 2017 to review an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling that upheld Wolf's ruling.

In his latest appeal efforts, Newton's public defender maintained that his life sentence was unconstitutional because Newton was not yet 18 when Coyle was killed. Newton, now 44, is incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.

Appeals panel to consider future of TABOR lawsuit

DENVER (AP) — The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether a long-running lawsuit challenging Colorado's strict tax and spending limits as unconstitutional can proceed.

Colorado Politics reports that a nine-judge panel will consider on Monday a review of the lawsuit, which was filed in 2011 by group of elected officials.

The 1992 Taxpayer's Bill of Rights requires that tax increases be approved by voters. It also requires the state to refund tax revenue that exceeds a figure determined by a formula based on inflation and population growth.

Its challengers say the voter-approved state constitutional amendment violates the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees a republican form of government in each state where elected officials — the Legislature — make decisions.

Critics of the amendment known as TABOR also contend it has starved state government of funds necessary to adequately pay for education, transportation and other priorities in the fast-growing state.

In 2017, U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore dismissed the suit, finding the plaintiffs didn't prove they were harmed by TABOR and thus had no standing to challenge it in court. A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit reversed that finding in 2019. Gov. Jared Polis and Attorney General Phil Weiser subsequently appealed to the entire 10th Circuit.