National Roundup

West Virginia

Feds: Upper Big Branch sentencing can send message

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Prosecutors want to make an example of a former security chief at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine who was convicted of lying to investigators after the worst mine disaster in four decades.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says Hughie Elbert Stover deserves the maximum possible sentence of 25 years in prison. Goodwin says Stover's actions contributed to the 2010 disaster that killed 29 men.

In a sentencing recommendation reported by the Charleston Gazette, Goodwin says U.S. District Judge Irene Berger could send a message that the federal government cares about mine safety crimes.

He says a tough sentence would deter bad conduct for an industry that's closely watching the outcome.

But defense attorney Bill Wilmoth says the 60-year-old Stover deserves no jail time. He wants probation or home confinement.

Georgia

His Airness' hand gives cops clue about fake shoes

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- Police say one of the first clues the Nike shoes might be fake was the logo of Michael Jordan. The former NBA star had too many fingers, an officer wrote in his report.

WSB-TV reports that the image and other tips led Gwinnett County, Ga., police to seize 78 pairs of Nike sneakers that authorities contend are counterfeit.

Police say they're questioning two South Carolina women they say were traveling with the shoes when police stopped their Pontiac Grand Prix on Saturday on Interstate 85 northeast of Atlanta.

Aside from Michael Jordan's six fingers, investigators said the serial numbers on the shoes' tongue did not match the numbers on the box. Officers said they could peel the Nike logos right off what appeared to be Nike Air Jordans.

Police say counterfeit goods being transported on I-85 is a growing trend. The hot items are sneakers and designer bags, authorities said.

Massachusetts

Minority Boston officers sue over promotion exam

BOSTON (AP) -- Nine black Boston police supervisors have filed a federal lawsuit in which they claim they were denied advancement because of a discriminatory promotion exam.

The supervisors are suing the city, demanding that it scrap the multiple choice lieutenant's test. Black and Latino officers historically fare worse on the exams than white and Asian candidates.

Harold Lichten, the lawyer for the officers, tells The Boston Globe that of the department's 51 lieutenants, there are two black men and one Asian man.

Of the department's captains, the next highest rank, only one of 23 is black.

A city lawyer says he had not been served with the lawsuit and could not comment. A police department spokeswoman also declined to comment.

Indiana

Suspect in 5 killings in SE Ind. pleads guilty

BROOKVILLE, Ind. (AP) -- A southeastern Indiana man has pleaded guilty in the shooting deaths of five people killed during an apparent drug dispute.

WRTV-TV reports 46-year-old David Ison of Glenwood pleaded guilty to five counts of murder Tuesday in a Franklin County court in Brookville. A sentencing hearing was set for March 14.

Ison pleaded guilty in the September slayings of 50-year-old Roy Napier; his estranged 47-year-old wife, Angela; their children, 23-year-old Melissa Napier and 18-year-old Jacob Napier; and a 43-year-old neighbor, Henry X. Smith.

Their bodies were found inside and outside Roy Napier's mobile home in rural Laurel, about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

Prosecutors say Ison was upset Napier had raised the price of oxycodone pills he was selling because Medicaid was no longer going to pay for Napier's prescription.

Washington, D.C.

Metro settles most death suits from DC train crash

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington-area Metro transit agency has settled seven of nine lawsuits by families of people killed in a 2009 train crash.

Metro also told a judge it is admitting legal responsibility for the deadliest accident in the system's history. Nine people died and dozens were injured when one train slammed into a stopped one.

Terms of the settlements have not been disclosed, though settlements in similar cases have been in the millions of dollars.

Patrick Regan, a lead attorney for the families, says the remaining two wrongful death cases are set to go to trial in March.

Regan says Metro's acknowledgment of liability in a court document filed Monday, and first reported by The Washington Examiner, will shorten the duration of any potential trial.

Minnesota

Mayo Clinic ordered to reinstate whistleblower

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) -- A U.S. Department of Labor administrative law judge has ordered Mayo Clinic to reinstate an employee who complained about the safety of the clinic's vehicles.

Judge Daniel Solomon ruled Mayo unlawfully discriminated against courier James Seehusen, who delivered mail, samples and X-rays. He complained about a broken windshield on a vehicle and said the clinic failed to do required daily inspections of certain vehicles. Seehusen also said drivers didn't have proper certification to operate the clinic's shuttle bus.

Mayo argued Seehusen's discipline and suspension was unrelated to his complaints. The Post-Bulletin reports the judge ruled Mayo failed to prove that the discipline would have happened regardless of Seehusen's safety complaints.

Indiana

Ex-CEO of eye clinic gets 2-year bilking sentence

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) -- The former CEO of a Muncie eye surgery center has been sentenced to two years in prison for stealing nearly $80,000 from the clinic.

A Delaware Circuit Court judge also ordered 56-year-old Dorian "Frank" Winconek on Tuesday to serve two years on probation and perform 240 hours of community service.

The Star Press reports that Winconek pleaded guilty in January to five counts of theft and agreed to pay about $78,000 to the now-shuttered Muncie Eye Center Group.

Deputy prosecutor Eric Hoffman says Winconek ruined the company and the lives of its employees "so he could live high on the hog."

Winconek allegedly used a company credit card to pay for ballroom dancing lessons, repairs for his cars, furniture for his home and also gave himself unauthorized cash bonuses.

Published: Thu, Feb 16, 2012

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