National Roundup

New Jersey

Man in webcam suicide case seeks to shield name

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- The man who prosecutors say was captured by a webcam in an intimate encounter with a Rutgers student who later committed suicide has "substantial fear" his privacy will be invaded.

The man, known only as M.B., has asked a judge to reverse his order to turn his name over to attorneys representing Tyler Clementi's roommate.

M.B. told the judge in a written statement he fears his name will leak out.

The judge ruled that prosecutors must disclose the name to Dharun Ravi. Ravi is accused of bias intimidation and other charges.

Clementi committed suicide days after the alleged webcam-spying incident, triggering a national conversation about bullying of young gays.

M.B.'s attorney, Richard Pompelio, told The Star-Ledger of Newark the intense media interest in Clementi's death is one reason why M.B. doesn't want his identity revealed.

Massachusetts

Lawmaker seeks payments for alleged Bulger victims

BOSTON (AP) -- A U.S. Representative from Massachusetts wants Congress to do what federal courts would not.

Democrat William Keating has filed a pair of bills that would provide $8.5 million in compensation to the families of two alleged victims of former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger.

A judge found the federal government liable for the 1982 deaths of Michael Donahue and Edward "Brian" Halloran because Bulger was an FBI informant at the time and awarded their families the money.

A federal appeals court overruled the lower court, saying the families had waited too long to make their claims. The appeals court last week denied the families a hearing on the issue.

Keating tells The Boston Globe he filed the bills because justice wasn't being served.

Donahue's son, Tom, tells the Boston Herald, he's "more than pleased."

Kentucky

Judge: No class-action status in Countrywide case

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A federal judge in Kentucky has rejected class-action status in a lawsuit accusing Countrywide Bank of charging African-American and Hispanic borrowers more for home loans than Caucasian borrowers.

U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II on Thursday ruled that Countrywide's policy put a great deal of discretion in the hands of individual loan officers, leaving too many variables at play for the plaintiffs to prove a collective action by the company.

A dozen people sued Countrywide, which is now owned by Bank of America, in 2008, claiming they and others were treated differently than other customers looking for a home loan between 2005 and 2007.

Boston-based attorney Gary Klein said the plaintiffs are evaluating the decision. A Bank of America spokesman didn't immediately return a message Thursday.

New Hampshire

AG releases final report on June murder-suicide

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Attorney General's office says the Concord man who shot his wife to death in front of her two young daughters and then turned the gun on himself was reeling from her decision to divorce him.

Twenty-two-year-old Matthew Balch shot his 25-year-old wife, Sarah, in the driveway of their home June 14 and then killed himself.

A final report released Thursday found that Balch's mother had tried to protect Sarah by driving a pick-up truck between the two but Matthew Balch, swearing and toting a rifle, walked behind the truck and shot his wife in the head.

Balch's mother rushed Sarah's daughters, ages 2 and 5, into the house. Balch hugged his mother and younger daughter, told his mother he was sorry, then went out and killed himself.

Tennessee

Trial of lawsuit set in return of Russian boy

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A lawsuit against a Tennessee family that sent an adopted young boy back to Russia has been scheduled for trial early next year.

A motions hearing scheduled for Oct. 27, however, could end the litigation, according to the Shelbyville Times-Gazette.

An adoption agency, the World Association for Children and Parents, filed the lawsuit after Nancy Hansen put then- 7-year-old Artyom (AHR'-tyom) Savelyev (sav-EHL'-yev) alone on an airline flight to Moscow. She sent with him a note from her daughter and Artyom's adoptive mother, Torry Hansen, which said the boy was violent and she no longer wanted to keep him.

The act sparked international outrage.

Attorneys for the Renton, Wash.-based adoption agency said they filed the lawsuit because no one was investigating claims that the Hansens abandoned and endangered the child.

Documents in the case remain under seal.

Louisiana

Judge refused to release probe data

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A state judge has ruled that the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office does not have to turn over more than 800,000 documents from a serial killer task force to attorneys for condemned serial murderer Derrick Todd Lee.

The Advocate reports state District Judge Richard Anderson granted a Sheriff's Office request for a protective order Wednesday after a detective testified and a Sheriff's Office attorney argued the task force computer hard drive contains confidential and privileged information, including material on confidential informants.

Anderson was told that, as the holder of a hunting license with the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, his name and some personal information is included in the task force records.

Lee's attorneys promised to appeal the judge's ruling to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which bothered family members of three of Lee's alleged victims.

Lee, 42, of St. Francisville, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 2004 in the 2002 killing of a 22-year-old LSU graduate student.

Evidence of Lee's alleged slaying of four other women, including Trineisha Dené Colomb, of Lafayette, was introduced at the trial.

Lee also was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in the 2002 killing of Geralyn Barr DeSoto, 21, of Addis.

Lee is suspected of killing seven south Louisiana women between 1998 and 2003.

Published: Fri, Oct 14, 2011

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