Court Roundup

Idaho: Suspended lawyer now wanted for felony theft, too
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Boise attorney has been accused of theft by prosecutors who say he collected money from clients even after he was suspended from practicing law.

Richard Arlan Bergesen was formally accused of felony grand theft by the Ada County prosecutor’s office, which issued a warrant for his arrest.

The Ada County prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that anybody who paid Bergeson for future legal services after November 15 should contact local police.

The Idaho State Bar Association indicated on its website that Bergesen is serving an “interim suspension,” meaning he can’t practice law pending the outcome of disciplinary charges.

According to the Bar Association’s official publication The Advocate, Bergesen was publicly reprimanded in 2007 for altercations in Ada County court. Then, he agreed to anger management courses.

Pennsylvania: Atty. convicted of stealing wants to move out of state
YORK, Pa. (AP) — A disbarred personal-injury lawyer convicted of stealing clients’ money is asking a judge for permission to move out of Pennsylvania.

Sixty-two-year-old Mark David Frankel made the request in court in York on Wednesday. He said he’s a pariah in the community and can’t find work.

Frankel, who advertised aggressively on billboards and on the back of local phone books, was disbarred in 2004. He was convicted in November 2006 of 57 counts of theft and one count of misapplication of entrusted property.

The state Attorney General’s Office said he stole about $1.1 million of his clients’ settlement money. He served about two years in prison and remains on probation.

Massachusetts: Case against father of missing boy moves forward
SALEM, Mass. (AP) — The case against a Lynn man charged with parental kidnapping and misleading police in the disappearance of his 5-year-old son has been continued so the defense can review more documents in the case.

Ernesto Gonzalez’s case was continued until February after efforts to reach a plea deal in Salem Superior Court on Wednesday stalled.

A judge could set a trial date when the sides meet again Feb. 2.

Defense lawyer Christopher Skinner told a judge he has not received some reports from prosecutors and needs them before he can proceed.

Giovanni Gonzalez disappeared in August 2008 after a visit to his father. Ernesto Gonzalez claimed he killed the boy, but no body has been found. He has pleaded not guilty to the lesser charges and is being held without bail.

Rhode Island: Father of fatal crash victim files lawsuit last week
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The father of a motorcyclist struck and killed in a traffic accident in May has filed a lawsuit against the driver of the car that struck his son, the vehicle’s owner, and the state.

Richard Foote, the father of Colin Foote and the administrator of his estate, filed the suit last week in Providence Superior Court naming as defendants Laura Reale, her father Thomas Reale, the State of Rhode Island, and Sara Strachan, administrator of the Division of Motor Vehicles.

The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.

The suit alleges that Laura Reale, as a habitual driving offender, should have had her license revoked and not been on the road when she struck Colin Foote.

Reale was sentenced this month to serve eight years in prison in connection with Foote’s death.

Massachusetts: Woman pleads not guilty to hitting police chief
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Worcester woman charged with driving drunk when she rear-ended an SUV driven by the commander of the Massachusetts State Police has pleaded not guilty.

Donna Sclamo pleaded not guilty at her Superior Court arraignment on Wednesday to charges including operating under the influence, fifth offense, and driving with a suspended license. She was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail.

Police allege the 51-year-old Sclamo was drunk on October 11 when her car struck the unmarked SUV driven by Col. Marian J. McGovern in Shrewsbury. Neither woman was hurt.

If Sclamo makes bail, she is required to remain under home confinement with electronic monitoring and to remain alcohol-free.

Sclamo has publicly apologized.

Alabama: Two men charged in grenade launcher deal
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Two Texas men are accused on federal charges of traveling to Alabama to purchase an automatic grenade launcher.

Authorities said Wednesday that 27-year-old Adam Emanuel Lewis and 25-year-old Antonio Rodriguez-Arellano were indicted on charges of violating federal firearms laws.

The two allegedly contacted a person in Alabama to buy a fully automatic MK-19 grenade launcher. The charges don’t say why the men wanted the weapon, but an informant reported the alleged deal to federal agents.

Court records show Rodriguez-Arellano paid $24,000 in cash for the launcher during a meeting in Leeds on Dec. 15 before he and Lewis were arrested.

A defense lawyer didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on the charges.

Oklahoma: Couple gives up parental rights to five daughters
FAIRVIEW, Okla. (AP) — A Fairview couple convicted of abusing one of five Liberian-born girls they adopted are relinquishing their parental rights to the abused girl’s four sisters.

Fifty-three-year-old Ardee Tyler and 47-year-old Penny Tyler appeared Wednesday in Major County District Court to end their fight to regain custody of the four girls, who are ages 5 to 16.

The Tylers were convicted in February of abusing the fifth sister, who is 14 and now lives with relatives in Illinois.

The Tylers’ son, 20-year-old Ashton Tyler, is in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting the girl, and his sister, 19-year-old Nathania Tyler, was convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery for slapping the girl on the head.

District Attorney Hollis Thorp tells The Oklahoman no other charges are pending against Ardee and Penny Tyler.

Texas: Woman charged in boy’s death
HOUSTON (AP) — A woman has been charged with capital murder in the death of a 12-year-old Houston boy whose badly burned body was found in a ditch this week following his Christmas Eve disappearance.

Mona Yvette Nelson, 44, was arrested Wednesday. She remained in jail Thursday on no bond. Court records did not list an attorney.

Police say Jonathan Foster, who had been left home alone, was kidnapped from his home on Christmas Eve before being killed and burned.

Homicide investigator Mike Miller said investigators believe Nelson took the boy to her home, where she likely killed him and burned his body.

Miller said that while a search of Nelson’s home turned up an “incredible amount of evidence,” investigators are still trying to determine a motive.

Jonathan’s mother, Angela Davis, said she’d met Nelson only once, on the night of her son’s disappearance.

Nelson was friends with Davis’ roommate and the boy’s frequent babysitter, Sharon Ennamorato, who described Nelson as a friend who used to work in maintenance at an apartment complex across the street from the home.

Davis had moved into the home with Ennamorato on Dec. 14, after she and Jonathan’s stepfather split up. Both Davis and Ennamorato had to work on Friday morning, so Foster was to stay home alone till his mother was expected to return in the early afternoon.

While at work that morning, a colleague told Davis her son had called the office and was asking for Ennamorato’s number.

Then a woman called back, saying it was an emergency. Davis said that by the time she made it to the phone, the line was dead.

Concerned, Davis called the house phone repeatedly as she drove there, she said. Someone picked up just minutes before she pulled up around 2 p.m.

She said when a woman answered, Davis asked to speak to her son. She heard a woman say: “Is your mama’s name Angela?” she said.

And she heard Jonathan say: “Yes ma’am, my mama’s name is Angela.” Then the phone went dead.

When she opened the door moments later, cartoons were still on the TV, and a game was up on the computer screen. She called for her son, but got no answer.

“The only thing missing in this house is his tan T-shirt with a guitar on it, a pair of jeans, his white sneakers and his black stuffed cat that my grandmother made him,” Davis said. “There was no struggle.”

Davis said that Nelson stopped by the house that night, telling her that she had come to the house that morning looking for Ennamorato, and that Jonathan had answered the door wearing no shirt, and it seemed like someone was in the house with him.

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