National Roundup

Georgia
Man said he wanted gunshot to scare woman

ATLANTA (AP) — A police officer says the 73-year-old man accused of gunning down a Georgia woman after his motorized wheelchair and her car bumped at a gas station told him that he only intended to scare the woman.
Macon police Sgt. Shermaine Jones interviewed Frank Reeves after the shooting. Jones testified in court Wednesday that Reeves told him that he intended to fire his gun in the air to scare 65-year-old Linda Hunnicutt.
Police say Reeves shot Hunnicutt after his wheelchair came into contact with her Buick outside a Macon gas station Dec. 4. She later died, despite efforts of bystanders to revive her on the pavement.
The Telegraph reported details of Wednesday’s court hearing.
Reeves’ attorney, Veronica Brinson, said her client didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt.

Texas
Man gets prison for $2.5M fraud  to get bonuses

TYLER, Texas (AP) — An East Texas man must serve more than three years in prison for faking $2.5 million in company profits in order to get bonuses.
A federal judge in Tyler sentenced 56-year-old Mark Eugene Thomas of Athens to 41 months behind bars. Thomas in March pleaded guilty to mail fraud when he was the accounting manager for Argon Medical Devices Inc. in Athens.
Prosecutors say Thomas from 2004 to 2008 provided fraudulent data to the company and auditors to make the specialty medical products company appear more profitable. Investigators say Thomas and other workers then wrongly received performance incentives.
Thomas on Wednesday was also ordered to repay the company more than $2.5 million.
Athens is 70 miles southeast of Dallas.

Delaware
Judge: Diocese can pay pensions of abuser priests

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington can make pension or charitable payments to priests who’ve committed sexual abuse.
The News Journal of Wilmington reports that U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson has struck down a provision of the settlement between the diocese and abuse survivors that prevented such payments. That means the diocese can pay the pensions of abuser priests if it chooses.
The ruling was made in an appeal brought by former priest Kenneth Martin. The diocese filed legal arguments opposing Martin’s appeal.
Attorney Thomas Neuberger represented nearly 100 plaintiffs in child sex abuse cases against the diocese. He says the ruling is tainted because no one was representing the interests of abuse victims in the appeal.

Pennsylvania
Preacher gets at least 66 years in Pa. child rape

BEDFORD, Pa. (AP) — A traveling preacher will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for molesting an 11-year-old Pennsylvania girl he assaulted while visiting her community for a religious revival.
A Bedford County judge says the Rev. Walter Bradshaw will spend at least 66 years in prison for the 2009 sexual assault in a Bedford Township motel room.
The victim and her mother had been friends of the Lexington, N.C. evangelist after meeting him at a church event. The girl’s mother has pleaded no contest to endangerment and soliciting perjury after police say she knew Bradshaw planned to assault her daughter when she took the girl to the motel.
The 63-year-old Bradshaw tearfully denied the allegations in a statement at Wednesday’s sentencing. He said the now-teenager and her family are “dysfunctional.”

Massachusetts
Inmate’s name change effort denied by judge

BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) — The convicted killer of a 10-year-old Cambridge boy has lost a bid to change his name.
Charles Jaynes, who is serving a life sentence in prison, had sought to change his name to Manasseh-Invictus Auric Thutmose V, in line with his constitutional right to practice the Wiccan religion.
The Brockton Enterprise reports that Plymouth County Probate and Family Court Judge Catherine Sabaitis turned down the request, calling it “inconsistent with public interests.”
Prosecutors said Jaynes and another man smothered Jeffrey Curley in 1997 with a gasoline-soaked rag when he resisted their sexual advances. The boy’s body was found in a weighed-down plastic container in a Maine river several days later.
The boy’s father, Robert Curley, opposed the name change and called Wednesday’s ruling “very good news.”

Kansas
Appeals court allows lawsuit in child’s death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit alleging that a Kansas social worker’s inaction led to the beating death of a 23-month-old girl.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver Wednesday reversed a ruling by a Kansas court throwing out the lawsuit against Linda Gillen. She no longer works for the Kansas social services agency but the state is defending her in court.
The maternal grandparents of Brooklyn Coons of Coffeyville allege in the lawsuit that Gillen intentionally ignored their complaints about their granddaughter’s care. The girl was beaten to death in January 2008. Her father’s girlfriend, Melissa Wells, was convicted of murdering the girl.
The Wichita Eagle reports the appeals court said the remaining issue is whether Gillen intentionally failed to act on the grandparents’ complaints.

Oklahoma
$7M in legal fees sought in case  on child-welfare

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A federal magistrate in Tulsa is recommending that the state pay $7 million in legal fees in a lawsuit that led to reforms in Oklahoma’s child-welfare system.
U.S. Magistrate Frank McCarthy said last week that the lawyers representing Children’s Rights should receive $5.5 million in attorneys’ fees and another $1.5 million in expenses and travel costs.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys had sought $9.5 million, while attorneys representing the Oklahoma Department of Human Services argued that $2.6 million to $3.7 million was more appropriate.
Children’s Rights Executive Director Marcia Lowry says they amassed more than 36,000 hours of work time in the four-year lawsuit, but DHS Director Ed Lake calls the $7 million recommendation “excessive.”
The settlement resulted in the Pinnacle Plan, the state’s $153 million plan for overhauling the foster care system.

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