National Roundup

Virginia

Board to review lewd video case of Navy captain

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- The former skipper of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier who lost his command for producing raunchy videos aboard the USS Enterprise has started making his case for why he should remain in the Navy.

Counsel for Capt. Owen Honors Jr. submitted a thick binder of supportive comments to a board of inquiry on Tuesday.

The board will review those comments and an investigative report into his conduct over the next two weeks. In total, they will review about 1,500 pages of documents and more than 60 videos. The board will recommend whether Honors should be separated from the Navy for conduct unbecoming of an officer, among other things.

Honors was relieved of command in January after Navy leaders learned about the videos. Honors said the videos were intended to boost morale.

Indiana

State tries to show Ohio killer's brain works fine

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Prosecutors in Cleveland are trying to show that a serial killer has good mental function and should be executed for murdering 11 women whose remains were dumped around his house.

A neuropsychologist and a forensic psychiatrist testified Tuesday about the mental fitness of 51-year-old Anthony Sowell (SOH'-wehl). They testified for the prosecution to counter defense testimony that Sowell is psychotic.

Neuropsychologist Diana Goldstein says Sowell's brain function is normal, except for murdering people. Psychiatrist James Knoll testified that his review of health records found no evidence that anti-psychotic medications were prescribed for Sowell.

The jury that convicted Sowell must decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison.

After state rebuttal witnesses, attorneys for both sides will make their final arguments to the jury and deliberations will start.

California

DA: No evidence Fullerton cops intended to kill

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- The California prosecutor whose office is investigating the death of a homeless, schizophrenic man after a violent fight with police in the college town of Fullerton says he hasn't seen evidence suggesting the officers intended to kill.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Monday his office was trying to determine whether the six Fullerton officers used excessive force when they confronted 37-year-old Kelly Thomas on July 5.

The officers were investigating reports of a break-in at a transit hub and tried to search Thomas' backpack when they got into a fight with him. Thomas suffered severe head and neck injuries and was taken off life support five days later.

Rackauckas said his office is trying to expedite the criminal investigation by adding extra investigators and he has not ruled out any charges.

Speaking in general, he said prosecutors can file murder charges if they find that officers acted with such malice that it approached an intent to kill. He said prosecutors could also file involuntary manslaughter charges if they find that the officers used excessive force.

The coroner's office has not determined a cause of death because it is waiting for results of toxicology tests.

Thomas' father told the Los Angeles Times that MRI and X-ray results from the hospital that treated his son showed he suffered a severe brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen and blunt force trauma.

Ron Thomas, who earlier released a graphic photo of his son's bloody, swollen and barely recognizable face, said the facial bones had also been broken.

Kelly Thomas' death has sparked outrage in the suburb southeast of Los Angeles. A bystander recorded the incident with a cell phone. A bus surveillance tape showed agitated witnesses describing how officers beat Thomas and used a stun gun on him repeatedly as he cried out for his father.

Rackauckas said he has seen a surveillance tape from the bus depot that prosecutors and police have refused to make public. He declined to describe its content, saying only that it "shows a lot and there is a lot it doesn't show."

The police department has called the case an isolated incident and put the officers on administrative leave.

The FBI is also investigating.

Fullerton's city manager told the Orange County Register he wants an independent consultant to conduct an internal investigation into police department procedures in the wake of Kelly Thomas' death and will ask the City Council to approve hiring Michael Gennaco to lead the probe.

California

Bonds' lawyers: Rambling is not a federal offense

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds' lawyers are still working to persuade a federal judge in San Francisco to throw out the home run king's obstruction of justice conviction or grant him a new trial.

Bonds' legal team argued in court papers filed Monday that federal prosecutors were grasping at straws and had invented new legal theories to sustain the verdict against the baseball great.

The papers came in response to a filing in which government lawyers urged U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to honor a jury's conclusion that Bonds gave a deliberately rambling answer when asked if his trainer ever gave him injectable substances.

Bonds' attorneys have asked Illston to set aside the obstruction verdict, arguing that the government has not shown "that speaking unintelligibly, or rambling, is a federal offense."

The judge has scheduled an Aug. 26 hearing to consider the request.

New York

Dad to sue city, county where 3 kids drowned

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) -- The father of three children who drowned in upstate New York when their mother drove her minivan into the Hudson River is suing a city and county for $40 million each.

The Times Herald-Record of Middletown reports Jean Pierre has filed a notice of claim alleging the city of Newburgh permitted a dangerous condition at its waterfront boat ramp that allowed LaShanda Armstrong to drive her van into the river on the night of April 12.

Armstrong and three of her four children drowned. Her 10-year-old son escaped through a window and swam to safety.

Pierre, Armstrong's estranged boyfriend, claims Orange County's Department of Child Protective Services had the responsibility to monitor the 25-year-old woman.

County officials haven't commented on the pending lawsuit. An attorney for the private law firm representing the city wasn't available for comment Monday.

Published: Wed, Aug 10, 2011

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