National Roundup

Nevada

Couple indicted in death of man found in box

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A Las Vegas couple has been indicted on murder and conspiracy charges in the slaying of an apartment owner whose body was found in a garment box outside a downtown apartment building.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports 20-year-olds Anthony Stiger and Melanie Costantini also were indicted on one count each of armed robbery and burglary in the slaying of 58-year-old Harold Myles Shilberg. They could face the death penalty.

The indictment handed up Wednesday moves the case to state court. An evidentiary hearing that was scheduled for Monday is canceled.

Arraignment is set for Jan. 4.

Stiger and Costantini were arrested Nov. 14 in Southern California, about a week after Shilberg's body was found with multiple cuts.

Investigators reported finding a bloody saw with shoes and clothing in a plastic garbage bag in an apartment where Stiger and Costantini lived.

Tennessee

Attorney: Ex-AAU chief innocent of sex abuse claims

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- An attorney for a former president of the Amateur Athletic Union says his client is innocent in accusations of child molestation.

ESPN reported last week that two former basketball players have accused Bobby Dodd of molesting them as children in the 1980s.

Memphis attorney Steve Farese Sr. met with Dodd in Orlando on Wednesday.

Farese said he is "extremely disappointed" that the media aired the allegations against Dodd.

Memphis police are investigating. Dodd has not been charged with any crime, but Farese said the damage to his reputation has already been done.

Farese said the 63-year-old Dodd is "very, very ill" and will not be speaking to the media. Dodd has colon cancer and the AAU says he will not be returning to the organization.

Virginia

Somali pirate leader sentenced to life in prison

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- A former Somali police officer has been sentenced to life in prison for his role as a leader in the hijacking of a yacht that left all four Americans on board dead.

Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali was sentenced in federal court in Norfolk on Thursday, where he apologized for his actions. He is among 11 men who have pleaded guilty to piracy for the February hijacking of the yacht Quest.

The owners of the Quest, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were shot to death after being taken hostage several hundred miles south of Oman.

Three others who prosecutors said were the triggermen face murder charges.

New York

Worker charged in 2010 NYC

elevator accident

NEW YORK (AP) -- A grand jury has indicted an elevator repairman on criminal charges in an accident that maimed a woman visiting a New York City hospital.

Brooklyn prosecutors say maintenance worker Jason Jordan disabled a safety switch that was supposed to stop the elevator from moving with its doors open.

Last Christmas, a 47-year-old woman was getting onto the elevator at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn when it lurched into motion. Her arm and leg were trapped and crushed, but she survived.

Jordan faces charges of assault and reckless endangerment. The name of his attorney was not immediately available.

Prosecutors say charges announced Thursday are unrelated to a fatality the day before in Manhattan. On Wednesday, an advertising executive was dragged and crushed after stepping into an elevator.

Nevada

NAACP, ACLU want probes of police slaying

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The NAACP in Las Vegas wants a federal probe and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada is calling for an independent investigation of Las Vegas police practices after a police shooting that killed an unarmed Gulf War veteran behind the wheel of his car in a condominium complex.

The calls for outside oversight came days after Sheriff Douglas Gillespie pleaded for patience from the public and promised a thorough internal investigation of the Monday morning slaying of Stanley Lavon Gibson.

Police said Gibson, 43, rammed his vehicle into police cruisers after officers were called late Sunday to a report of an attempted condominium break-in.

Frank Hawkins Jr., president of the Las Vegas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, noted that Gibson was black and pointed to what he called "an unprecedented number of questionable deaths" at the hands of Las Vegas police.

"There have now been 12 deaths at the hands of the police this year alone," Hawkins said. "Local authorities have proven either unwilling or unable to address what appear to be either rogue or dangerously incompetent officers within the police department operating with impunity."

The U.S. Department of Justice should investigate and make public its findings, Hawkins said.

ACLU chief Dane Claussen called the shooting "deeply troubling" and said it "fits into a long pattern of shootings of persons, many others of whom also were unarmed, who were not an immediate threat to anyone."

Las Vegas police haven't taken sufficient steps to limit shootings and aren't properly investigating them, Claussen said.

Gibson's friends and family members said he had a troubled personal history, was suffering from cancer he blamed on his Army service, had recently had his Veterans Affairs disability payments reduced, and was due for sentencing on an assault charge after an argument with a Veterans Affairs doctor.

Gibson's wife, Rondha Gibson, has told reporters that her husband ran out of anxiety medication and was prone to paranoid delusions and anxiety, with fears that people were after him.

Neighbors' videos show officers firing shots into the vehicle after it spun its wheels while wedged between police cruisers.

Las Vegas police on Wednesday identified the four patrol officers involved in the shooting as officer Jesus Arevalo, officer Malik Grego-Smith, Sgt. Michael Hnatuick and Lt. David Dockendorf. Each is on paid leave pending the internal investigation.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Gibson and his wife had moved into the condo earlier this month and he might have been confused about where he was when he confronted police.

Gibson's Army discharge shows he separated from the service in 1992. He blamed his cancer to exposure during Operation Desert Storm to depleted uranium from armor-piercing shells used by M-1 tanks.

Published: Fri, Dec 16, 2011

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