National Roundup

Louisiana No bond for illegal snake breeder OBERLIN, La. (AP) -- A former Oakdale man who failed to appear in court last fall on charges of operating an illegal snake breeding business and animal abuse will be held without bond until an Aug. 3 hearing. State District Judge Patricia Cole ruled Wednesday that 45-year-old David Beauchemin was a flight risk. Officials say Beauchemin, who was extradited from Woods County, Texas, on Sunday, will be held in a Jackson Parish jail. He was arrested in April. Beauchemin's wife, Tawni, who also failed to appear for arraignment last September, remains at large. The American Press reports the Beauchemins also face 21 counts of simple cruelty to animals, one court of possession of snakes longer than 12 feet without a permit and violating interstate commerce laws by selling snakes not legal to possess. New Mexico Judge arrested for rape says he will be vindicated ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A New Mexico judge arrested for rape and assault has addressed the charges against him for the first time since his arrest earlier this week. Attorney Ahmad Assed representing State District Judge Pat Murdoch says the judge is "confident" that he will be vindicated once the issues surrounding this case are fully examined and decided. The Albuquerque Journal reports Murdoch is taking a leave of absence to ensure the allegations don't distract from cases before the court. Albuquerque police said the 23-year-old woman who leveled the charges against the judge is an admitted prostitute. In a criminal complaint, she told police Murdoch paid her for sex on eight occasions. Police said the woman did not report the assault and may have been trying to extort the judge with a video of one of their encounters. Massachusetts 3 facing charges in Somerset water scare SOMERSET, Mass. (AP) -- Three people are facing charges in connection with a water contamination scare in Somerset that caused a three-day ban on drinking town tap water. The Herald News reports that police on Wednesday filed charges against two employees of Hydrograss Technologies for wanton destruction of property, conspiracy and unlicensed connection to a distribution system. An employee of Cianbro is facing charges of interfering with metering of water, unlicensed connection to a distribution system, and larceny. The suspects were not arrested and their names were not released pending their court appearance. Police say the private companies were working on a bridge project on May 31 when the Cianbro employee granted permission to Hydrograss Technologies to connect to a hydrant for water. But the town never granted permission. No one got sick. California Family of man shot by Oakland police sues city OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The family of an unarmed barber who was shot to death by Oakland police is suing the City of Oakland. The $10 million civil rights lawsuit by the family of 37-year-old Derrick Jones claims officers used excessive force when they opened fire on Jones on Nov. 8. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the suit was filed last Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The officers -- Eriberto Perez-Angeles and Omar Daza-Quiroz -- have said Jones reached for what they thought was a gun. It was later determined to be a small silver scale. A message for Oakland police early Thursday morning seeking comment on the suit was not immediately returned. County prosecutors ruled earlier this year that the shooting was justified. Oklahoma Diaper-wearing man pleads guilty to con OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A 21-year-old Oklahoma City man who wore diapers as part of a con to get women to baby-sit him has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual battery. Mark Anthony Richardson II was sentenced Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court after pleading guilty in June to grabbing the breast of the 18-year-old daughter of a baby-sitter. He must also register as a sex offender. The Oklahoman reports that Richardson apologized and told the judge he will try to get his life back on track. Prosecutors say Richardson pretended to be autistic, used a pacifier, drank baby formula and threw childlike fits. West Virginia Respirator maker sues Alpha, Massey officials CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A respirator maker is suing Massey Energy's new owner, saying the company is responsible for illnesses that miners have blamed on faulty breathing devices. The Charleston Gazette reports that Pennsylvania-based Mine Safety Appliances sued Alpha Natural Resources and former Massey head Don Blankenship in Mingo Circuit Court on Wednesday. The lawsuit claims Massey officials did not comply with federal regulations that require mine operators to maintain proper ventilation and limit miners' exposure to coal dust that causes deadly black lung disease. MSA lawyers filed the complaint to make Alpha a third-party defendant in an existing lawsuit filed against MSA by former Massey foreman Dusty Dotson, who developed lung disease after working for years in underground coal mine. Alpha officials would not comment on the lawsuit. New York Lawsuit seeks faster action on PCBs in schools NEW YORK (AP) -- Activists have filed a lawsuit demanding that New York City move faster to remove lighting fixtures tainted with the toxic chemicals known as PCBs from hundreds of public schools. City officials announced a 10-year plan in February to replace the aging fluorescent lights. The lighting fixtures can leak PCBs over time. The federal lawsuit was filed Wednesday by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest on behalf of a parents' group. Miranda Massie, a lawyer with the group, told The Wall Street Journal that the work could be done in about two years. Department of Education spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said the 10-year plan is responsible and will cause minimum disruption. PCBs are suspected of causing cancer and other diseases. Published: Fri, Jul 22, 2011