National Roundup

New York

Fired ex-Syracuse hoops coach's wife to sue ESPN

GENEVA, N.Y. (AP) -- The wife of a fired Syracuse University assistant basketball coach claims ESPN trampled her reputation by broadcasting salacious and false stories about molestation claims against her husband.

A lawyer for Laurie Fine says she will file a libel lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against the sports network and two employees. ESPN in November broke the story of two former Syracuse ball boys who claimed they were molested by coach Bernie Fine decades ago.

Bernie Fine has denied wrongdoing. He hasn't been charged because of the statute of limitations.

Laurie Fine claims ESPN rushed to capitalize on the unfolding Penn State University sex-abuse scandal and overlooked doubts about the ball boys' credibility.

An ESPN spokesman says the Bristol, Conn.-based network hasn't reviewed the lawsuit but stands by its reporting.

New York

Judge grants class action status to frisk suit

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York judge has granted class action status to a 2008 lawsuit accusing the New York Police Department of discriminating against blacks and Hispanics with its stop-and-frisk policies aimed at reducing crime.

Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan says there is "overwhelming evidence" that a centralized stop-and-frisk program has led to thousands of unlawful stops.

She says the vast majority of New Yorkers who are unlawfully stopped will never file a lawsuit in response. She says class-action status was created for just these kinds of court cases.

The lawsuit says officers are pressured to meet quotas as part of the program and they are punished if they do not.

A message for comment left with the city law office was not immediately returned.


Victim in shooting declined protection order

GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) -- The girlfriend of a former neo-Nazi who allegedly killed her and three others had told police that he choked her but declined to have him removed from her home in a Phoenix suburb two months before the fatal shooting.

The Arizona Republic reports that Gilbert police advised 47-year-old Lisa Mederos to file an order of protection against Jason Todd "JT" Ready in February.

She told police that Ready choked her twice in seven months and wouldn't leave her home. Police reports show she became tearful and declined to file a restraining order.

Police say Ready was uncooperative when they visited the home a week later.

Authorities believe Ready killed Mederos and three others, including a toddler, in a domestic dispute May 2 before turning the gun on himself.

New York

Lennon's killer transferred to another NY prison

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- John Lennon's killer has been transferred to another maximum-security state prison in western New York after spending more than 30 years in Attica Correctional Facility.

The Buffalo News reports that 57-year-old Mark David Chapman was transferred Tuesday from Attica to the nearby Wende (WEHN'-dee) Correctional Facility in Alden, 20 miles east of Buffalo.

A spokesman for the state prison system says the agency doesn't disclose why inmates are transferred to a new facility.

Chapman fatally shot Lennon in December 1980 outside the Manhattan apartment building where the former Beatle lived. Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life in prison.

He was denied parole for the sixth time in September 2010. He's eligible again for parole in August.


Couple can keep 24-foot cross on property

LYNDON, Vt. (AP) -- A Vermont couple has won a nearly five-year battle to keep a 24-foot-tall cross on their hilltop property -- but they can light it up only during certain times.

Neighbors complained about the size of the cross and the bright lights in Lyndon. A state land-use panel ruled the cross was out of character for the rural neighborhood and needed to come down.

Richard and Joan Downing appealed the decision to the Vermont Environmental Court, arguing that the ruling violated their First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.

The Caledonian-Record reports a judge said the cross can stay. But it only can be illuminated for an hour at sunset during Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday; a week in September marking the birth of Mary; and from Advent Sunday through Epiphany.


Documents show teen assaulted during Bible study

CORONA, Calif. (AP) -- New court documents show a 13-year-old boy was assaulted during Bible study while men watched at a Southern California storefront church.

Besides the Bible study assault, an affidavit says one of the men rubbed salt into cuts on the boy's back at a group home.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise obtained court documents after getting a judge to unseal affidavits in the case.

The pastor of a Corona church and two of his followers were earlier charged with disciplining the teen by pinching him with pliers, beating him with a shovel and forcing him to dig a grave while threatening him with death.

Heart of Worship Community Church pastor Lonny Remmers, Nick Craig and Darryll Jeter Jr. pleaded not guilty last month to kidnapping, assault and other felonies.


Convicted killer of East Texas woman loses appeal

HOUSTON (AP) -- A man sent to death row for the slaying of an East Texas woman nearly nine years ago has lost a federal court appeal, moving him a step closer to execution.

Forty-one-year-old Donnie Lee Roberts Jr. was condemned for robbing and shooting his girlfriend, Vicki Bowen, at her home on Lake Livingston in Polk County. Evidence showed Roberts, who previously served prison time in Louisiana for armed robbery, traded a gun stolen from the home for cocaine.

Roberts contended his trial judge improperly refused testimony from an expert witness about his alcohol and drug use, that his trial legal help was deficient and that his trial judge refused testimony from one of his relatives during punishment.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Tuesday rejected each of his claims.

Published: Thu, May 17, 2012