National Roundup


Victim's family slams governor over death penalty

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The former husband of a woman killed by Oregon death row inmate Gary Haugen calls Gov. John Kitzhaber a coward for halting Haugen's execution.

Ard Pratt is a former Multnomah County sheriff's deputy who responded to the scene in 1981 after his ex-wife, Mary Archer, was raped and beaten to death.

Pratt and his daughter, Kathy Pratt, told KGW Tuesday ( ) that the governor dismissed the law and the will of the people last week when he gave Haugen a reprieve. Ard Pratt says the governor should have put his personal feelings aside.

Haugen was serving a life sentence for killing Mary Archer when he killed another inmate in prison and was sentenced to death.

Haugen also slammed Kitzhaber for stopping the execution, which had been set for Dec. 6.


More charges possible against former Colo. sheriff

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- A former Arapahoe County sheriff accused of offering methamphetamine in exchange for sex from a male acquaintance won accolades during his tenure and once was hailed as a hero for his daring rescue of two wounded deputies during a hostage standoff.

But current Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said more charges are being considered against former sheriff Patrick Sullivan after Sullivan was arrested on Tuesday over allegations he offered methamphetamine in exchange for sex.

Robinson said the 68-year-old former sheriff faces a distribution charge and was being held on a $250,000 bond. Sullivan was sheriff of the suburban Denver county from 1984 until he retired in 2002.

Authorities said they had a tip about the exchange and arrested Sullivan without incident after the former sheriff gave meth to the man.

Arapahoe County's jail is named for the former lawman, the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility.

After his retirement, Sullivan became head of security for the Cherry Creek School District.

In the 1989 hostage standoff, Sullivan rescued two deputies after crashing his truck through a fence and protecting them while they were loaded into the vehicle. Arapahoe County Deputy Daniel Thomas and Deputy Arthur Hilton were treated at a hospital for gunshot wounds and shrapnel wounds from flying glass.

During the rampage, Eugene Thompson Jr., described by authorities as a 20-year-old man with an insatiable appetite for cocaine, killed two women with a semiautomatic machine pistol, raped another woman, and wounded two deputies and a hostage before fatally wounding himself in a 10-hour reign of terror.


Suspect in East Coast rapes arra igned in Virginia

MANASSAS, Va. (AP) -- A Connecticut man who police believe is responsible for a series of sexual assaults along the East Coast has been arraigned in Virginia on charges of raping two teenage trick-or-treaters on Halloween in 2009.

Forty-year-old Aaron Thomas was extradited Tuesday from Connecticut to Virginia and made an initial appearance Wednesday morning in Prince William County's Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Asked if he understood the charges against him, Thomas replied "No," and asked for a court-appointed attorney.

A preliminary hearing was set for January.

Prosecutor Paul Ebert said he sought to try Thomas first because the charges against him in this jurisdiction are especially heinous.

West Virginia

WVU seeks to dismiss Big East's lawsuit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia is seeking to dismiss a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by the Big East after the university sued the conference in a bid to make a quick exit for the Big 12.

West Virginia filed a motion Tuesday in Providence County Superior Court in Rhode Island. A clerk said Wednesday a hearing date hasn't been set.

The motion says the court lacks jurisdiction over WVU and the university has sovereign immunity from lawsuits as an agency of the state of West Virginia. It also says WVU filed a lawsuit involving similar facts in Monongalia County four days before the conference's suit.

"The Big East's hasty filing is an entirely unwarranted attempt to sidestep the jurisdiction of the West Virginia Circuit Court," the motion said.

It said the state of West Virginia has "an immediate and compelling interest" in the dispute's outcome.

The conference's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an order that West Virginia stay in the conference for 27 months. Big East Commissioner John Marinatto noted in the lawsuit that West Virginia helped construct the bylaws and formally agreed to them.

A Big East spokesman declined comment Wednesday on the motion, which was first reported by The Charleston Gazette.

West Virginia accepted an invitation from the Big 12 last month and wants to join for the 2012 season. The university filed a lawsuit Oct. 31 claiming the conference breached its fiduciary duty to West Virginia by failing to maintain a balance between football-playing and non-football members.

West Virginia has already sent half of the required $5 million exit fee to the Big East. The university alleged that by accepting the down payment on the exit fee, the Big East agreed to West Virginia's immediate withdrawal.

The Big East has yet to respond to WVU's lawsuit, according to the Monongalia County Circuit Clerk's Office in Morgantown. A status conference in that case is set for Thursday before Judge Russell Clawges.


Lawsuit seeks more minority hires for river bridge

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is facing a $650 million federal lawsuit by a group that claims not enough minority contractors have been hired for work on a new Mississippi River bridge at East St. Louis.

The Metro East Black Contractors Association filed the lawsuit in East St. Louis, seeking an order to stop the awarding of additional contracts for the nearly $670 million bridge.

An IDOT spokesman says that department hasn't seen the lawsuit and can't comment.

The department has said minority workers represented more than 23 percent of the worker hours on the project through September.

An attorney for the group behind the lawsuit says the goal of the legal action is to level the playing field for black and minority workers needing jobs.

Published: Thu, Dec 1, 2011