National Roundup

South Carolina
Man accused of putting bodies in barrels in court

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man accused of killing two people and stuffing their bodies in barrels has appeared before a judge.
A magistrate on Sunday formally charged John Michael Young with two counts of murder and unauthorized removal of a dead body.
Young was captured at an Anderson home Saturday. Deputies found a chain saw and machetes in his home near Lake Hartwell.
Authorities say Young killed 52-year-old Tony McGinnis in September and 37-year-old Andrea Mitchell in October by beating them in the head.
Mitchell’s body was found Wednesday in a plastic barrel partially submerged in the lake. Deputies found McGinnis’ dismembered body in a metal barrel Thursday.
Shaine David Fischer is charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of murder. It wasn’t known if the men had attorneys.

Massachusetts
Lawyers seek proof of man’s federal immunity

BOSTON (AP) — Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to force Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to produce proof that he was awarded immunity by federal authorities before his June trial spirals into an “unduly elongated and unmanageable” mess.
In documents filed Friday, prosecutors call Bulger’s claim of immunity “frivolous” and “absurd.”
Bulger is awaiting trial for his alleged role in 19 slayings.
Prosecutors say the 83-year-old Boston gangster’s FBI file makes no mention of the deal Bulger intends to testify he struck with former U.S. Attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan in the 1970s. They say Bulger hasn’t even presented proof that he and O’Sullivan ever met.
The Boston Herald reports the filing was made in response to the defense team’s earlier demand that the judge compel the government to turn over “all correspondence” between prosecutors and investigative agencies.

Georgia
Death penalty tossed out in murder case

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Supreme Court has unanimously tossed out the death sentence of a man who was convicted of killing his wife and twin 2-year-old sons in Lithonia in 2006.
The court on Monday upheld Clayton Jerrod Ellington’s murder conviction, and a jury will once again have the option to sentence him to death.
Ellington’s attorneys had argued the trial court unfairly prohibited them from asking prospective jurors whether they would consider a life sentence rather than the death penalty.
Ellington was convicted of attacking his wife, Berna, with a hammer as she slept, and beating to death his twin sons in their cribs.
Officials in the DeKalb County Assistant District Attorney’s office were not immediately available for comment.


Alabama
Judge to decide in lawsuit over inmates with HIV

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — It’s up to a federal judge in Montgomery to decide if the Alabama Department of Corrections can continue to isolate inmates who have tested positive for HIV even though the virus is no longer considered a death sentence.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson heard arguments made during the month-long trial challenging Alabama’s decades-old policy of mostly separating HIV-positive inmates from other prisoners.
Currently, Alabama and South Carolina are then only states that segregate HIV-positive prisoners.
ACLU lawyer Margaret Winter was the lead attorney representing the inmates. She said based on what Thompson told attorneys, she expects the judge to issue an opinion soon.
She said she believes attorneys for the inmates “proved there is no need to segregate HIV inmates to prevent transmission of HIV.”
The lawsuit accused the state of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Winter said in her opening statement during the trial that the policy keeps HIV-positive inmates from participating in some programs to help in their rehabilitation.
But the attorney for the state at the trial, Bill Lunsford, said the only thing the HIV-positive inmates are prohibited from doing is working in the prison kitchen. Winter, however, said the HIV-positive inmates often can’t get the same work-release jobs as other inmates, particularly food service jobs.
During the trial, attorneys for the state said HIV-positive inmates are allowed to participate in the same programs as other prisoners. A statement from prisons spokesman Brian Corbett said HIV-positive inmates are not universally segregated.
“As the evidence at trial showed, the department has devoted an extraordinary amount of effort and resources to ensuring that HIV-positive offenders in Alabama receive excellent health care within a limited number of facilities,” Corbett said. “It is a proven system that has effectively prevented the spread of HIV ... within our system.”
Winter said evidence at the trial showed there is training available at many locations, including in Alabama, on how to deal with HIV-positive inmates. She said the HIV-positive inmates are suffering a hardship because of the stigma of being tagged as being different.
“This policy is ongoing because of fears of top officials who are perpetuating a problem when they just don’t need to.” Winter said.

Florida
Woman arrested for graffiting courthouse

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A north Florida woman who is going through a messy divorce has been arrested after police say she spray painted broken hearts and other graffiti outside a new Jacksonville courthouse.
An officer allegedly spotted 35-year-old Audrey Dostie spray painting the walkway that leads to the courthouse.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s officers say she spray painted broken hearts on the columns of the new $350 million courthouse along with an angry statement to a judge on the sidewalk.
Dostie was arrested Thursday and charged with criminal mischief.
WJXT in Jacksonville reports Dostie is in the middle of a divorce and custody case. Her husband also allegedly filed a restraining order against her.
Police say she spray painted similar graffiti and messages to her husband and son outside her husband’s business.r

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