National Roundup

Mississippi: Six enter pleas in federal drug trafficking case
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Six people have pleaded guilty in a federal cocaine-trafficking case.

The Sun Herald reports the case involved the transport of about 44 pounds cocaine from Illinois to Jackson County, where some of the cocaine was later seized.

David Charles Thornton and his brother, Frederick Anthony Thornton Jr., each pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Kasey Marine Stinson-Herron, who prosecutor say also traveled to Chicago for the cocaine pickup, pleaded guilty to interstate travel in aid of an unlawful activity.

They and others who entered guilty pleas Tuesday had entered into plea agreements with the state. In exchange, some of the charges were dismissed.

Also entering guilty pleas were Sherry L. Alvarez; and Dale Morris and his wife, Holly. Each pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony — failing to report a crime. All three admitted storing some of the cocaine at their homes at different times in exchange for cash.

Prosecutors said the suspects drove in two vehicles to Chicago in April 2009 to make the pickup. They said the group expected to pick up five kilos of cocaine but once there, learned it was 20 kilos and bought a larger suitcase to transport it back to Mississippi.

Ohio: Schools warily review ruling on Bluffton crash
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio schools are concerned about fallout from an Ohio Supreme Court decision involving the deadly 2007 Bluffton University bus crash.

The court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that survivors of the wreck and victims’ families may pursue claims against insurance held by the northwest Ohio university.

At central Ohio’s Otterbein University, athletic director Dick Reynolds called the decision “scary” and potentially disastrous for schools that send groups to athletic and other events.

An Ohio State University spokeswoman said that Ohio’s largest university is reviewing whether its insurance or transportation programs need changes in light of the ruling.

Five Bluffton baseball players and two others died in the crash in Atlanta.

Pennsylvania: Philly court finds nearly $1 million sitting in escrow
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Crime victims in Philadelphia will be getting some long-due restitution from nearly $1 million confiscated from almost 4,500 drug busts and other crimes since 2005.

The cash has been sitting in escrow in a city Police Department bank account.

But the department had no clear indication about who should get the money because of poor record-keeping by the now-disbanded Clerk of Quarter Sessions Office.

Not every case involves restitution, and it has yet to be determined how many people would receive money.

Massachusetts: Cheshire man sent to prison for assault on child
PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A 72-year-old Cheshire man convicted nearly three years ago of sexually assaulting a young girl is headed to state prison after his request for a new trial was denied.

Robert Chaperon was sent to prison for up to three years in Berkshire Superior Court this week, the same sentence he received when convicted in March 2008.

Chaperon was found guilty of indecent assault and battery of a child under 14, but acquitted of forcible rape of a child.

The victim was 5 or 6 years old when the assaults took place between September 2004 and February 2006.

Prosecutors asked for a longer sentence, saying Chaperon exploited his position as the child’s caregiver.

His defense lawyer asked for a suspended sentence because of his age.

Oklahoma: Mother charged with neglect after death of son, 9
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A 42-year-old woman formerly from Broken Arrow is charged with child neglect after authorities say she failed to seek medical attention for her sick 9-year-old son, who later died.

Documents filed in Tulsa County District Court indicate the woman, Susan M. Grady, chose to pray over her son, Aaron Gregory Grady, instead of taking him to see a doctor.

Court documents indicate Grady told police she was a member of the Church of the First Born and “believes in faith-based healing through prayer.”

Calls from the Tulsa World to the church went unanswered Tuesday night. Broken Arrow Police Maj. Mark Irwin says he thinks Grady has moved away from the area.

First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond filed the charges Tuesday and says the circumstances in the case are rare.

Minnesota: Appeals Court upholds city’s land seizure
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld a lower-court decision allowing the city of Eagan to seize land for development.

The city is planning a $215 million redevelopment of a former shopping center area. It has razed and relocated most of the businesses in the area, but several argued that the city had no right to condemn their land for the development.

A Dakota County judge had ruled in favor of the city.

The Court of Appeals initially reversed that decision in favor of the landowners. It said the city first needed to have a binding agreement with a developer.

But the Minnesota Supreme Court disagreed. It ordered the Appeals Court to reconsider the case on other grounds.

The Star Tribune says the Appeals Court sided with the city Tuesday.

New Jersey: Suspect in 1982 murder out of jail on $50,000 bail
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, N.J. (AP) — A man who was arrested three years ago and charged with a 1982 New Jersey murder has been released on bail.

A judge reduced George Carty’s bail to $50,000 after a ruling that a statement he made to police would not be admissible in court. His bail had been as high as $500,000.

The lower bail allowed his family to get him out of jail Tuesday night, as first reported by The Press of Atlantic City.

Authorities say he has described how he killed John Attenborough in Cape May County’s Lower Township.

But Carty says his statement was giving hypothetical examples of what might have happened — and that he wasn’t at the murder scene.

An appeals court says that 2007 statement cannot be used at trial.

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