National Round Up

Illinois: Man admits taking nude photos of boy on church lot
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man who prosecutors say took nude photos of a 12-year-old boy on an Alton church’s parking lot has pleaded guilty to producing and possessing child porn.

Forty-one-year-old Blake Young entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in East St. Louis.

Authorities say Young in March asked the boy he knew from the church to come into his motor home parked at the church. Prosecutors say Young then took pictures of the boy’s genitals and showed the boy nude photos on his cell phone of a 15-year-old’s genitals.

Police approached Young after the boy reported the matter, and the photos were found in Young’s motor home.

At sentencing on Dec. 3 Young could face up to 30 years in prison for the production charge.

South Dakota: Teen allegedly had plans to blow up school
SISSETON, S.D. (AP) — Court documents say an 18-year-old South Dakotan accused of possessing explosives wrote that he wanted to blow up the Sisseton High School, torture and rape women and “become the world’s most infamous sociopath.”

Joseph Thomas Hansen of Claire City is charged with selling, transporting or possessing an explosive device and possessing substances with the intent to make a destructive device. Authorities say he had explosives, fuses, pipe caps, pipes and other items including weapons and ammunition at his home when it was searched earlier this month.

Court documents say Hansen allegedly made statements that the first day of school in Sisseton would be “a short one,” and that he had looked up information on the 1999 school massacre in Columbine, Colo..

Hansen is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond. He is due back in court Sept. 14.

New Hampshire: Teenager gets jail time for try to poison mom
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A 17-year-old New Hampshire girl is going to jail for 10 days for convictions stemming from efforts to poison her mother by spiking her drink with disinfectant.

A judge on Tuesday sentenced Brittany Merrill to an additional 10 days in jail after her guilty plea to misdemeanor charges stemming from the July 26 incident in Portsmouth.

Local police say Merrill poured a capful of the disinfectant into a container of juice last month. Her mother drank some, but stopped when her throat started to burn.

The Portsmouth Herald says Merrill’s attorney, Christine List, told the court Merrill suffers from bipolar disorder and was not taking her medication at the time of the incident.

Missouri: County’s jury duty policy opens way for retrial
TROY, Mo. (AP) — For nearly three years, Lincoln County had an unusual court policy that allowed those called for jury duty to avoid it by paying $50 and performing community service. A state appeals court has ruled that policy was at odds with state law, potentially requiring a retrial for nearly two dozen cases.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the ruling has already sent a drug case back for retrial.

Missouri’s Eastern District Court of Appeals ruled against Lincoln County’s jury selection policy on Tuesday.

As part of that ruling, an Elsberry man’s 2007 drug conviction was overturned. Judges ruled his jury may have been tainted by the now-discontinued court policy.

Officials said the policy was aimed at accommodating people inconvenienced by jury duty.

Indiana: Bottled water company sued in worker’s death
FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) — The family of a woman who died after a pallet of bottled water fell on her at a Kroger store in central Indiana is suing the water bottler, arguing a new eco-friendly bottle design might have contributed to the accident.

The lawsuit filed by the husband of 32-year-old Lori Keen is pending in federal court in Indianapolis. It says that Nestle Waters North America’s new bottles used less plastic and couldn’t support as much weight as previous bottles.

Keen was fatally injured March 15 when a 4,100-pound pallet of bottled water fell on her in the warehouse of a Kroger store in Franklin. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Nestle Waters didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Oklahoma: Convicted killer sentenced to 13 years in prison
LAWTON, Okla. (AP) — A Lawton man who was convicted of second-degree murder has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Vernon Butler IV was sentenced Tuesday in Comanche County District Court for the May 2009 shooting death of 23-year-old Robert Mountain. Butler was convicted in June.

Prosecutors say Butler accidentally shot Mountain while hitting him in the head with a handgun. Butler said he fired in self-defense after Mountain grabbed a gun and tried to rob him during an attempted drug deal.

Minnesota: Court dismisses fraud claim against diocese
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has thrown out a lawsuit by four women who say they were abused as children by a New Ulm priest.

The women accused the New Ulm Diocese of fraud for failing to disclose information about Rev. David Roney’s abusive behavior. After Roney died in 2003, the diocese acknowledged that he had sexually abused children. Roney served at St. Francis in Benson and St. Mary’s in Willmar during the 1960s and 1970s.

The appeals court ruled the diocese’s silence on Roney’s behavior did not constitute fraud.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press says the decision could affect other cases that allege fraud against dioceses that employed priests accused of sexual misconduct.

Kansas: Man gets 12-plus years in mortgage fraud case
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for mortgage fraud.

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release Tuesday that 36-year-old Ryan Miller, of Kansas City, Mo., also was ordered to pay more than $5.8 million in restitution.

Miller pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., to one count of conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

He admitted through his plea to conspiring with others to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans.

The release says the conspirators submitted loan applications that contained false statements to lenders to obtain money.

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