National Roundup

Georgia
Man gets 4 years for handcuffing himself to woman 

RINGGOLD, Ga. (AP) — A north Georgia man who handcuffed himself to a female Taco Bell co-worker has been sentenced to serve four years in prison.
The Rome News-Tribune reports that 25-year-old Jason Earl Dean of Dalton handcuffed himself to the 18-year-old woman in August 2011 in an attempt to convince her to go on a date with him.
Lookout Mountain Assistant District Attorney Alan Norton says a Catoosa County Superior Court judge sentence Dean to four years in prison followed by six years on probation.
Norton says Dean is also not allowed to have any contact with the victim or her family.

Massachusetts
Movie critic’s driving charge to be dismissed

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (AP) — A misdemeanor driving charge against retired television movie critic Gene Shalit is set to be dismissed in Massachusetts.
The 86-year-old Shalit was cited in October after his vehicle struck a utility pole and came to rest against a house in Lenox, in western Massachusetts. Shalit, who lives in nearby Stockbridge, wasn’t hurt. He told police he fell asleep.
The agreement between police and Shalit’s lawyer was approved during a probable cause hearing Wednesday in Southern Berkshire District Court. The hearing was continued to April 2, when the driving to endanger charge will be dismissed.
Shalit’s lawyer tells The Berkshire Eagle his client won’t drive until the next hearing, at which time his driving status will be re-assessed.
Shalit, known for his bushy hair and mustache, reviewed movies for NBC’s “Today” show from 1973 until 2010.

Georgia
Suspect shooter at prayer service to appear in court

ATLANTA (AP) — A court appearance for a man accused of gunning down a volunteer during a prayer service at a Georgia megachurch was postponed.
A preliminary hearing for Floyd Palmer was scheduled for Thursday morning. It is now set for Friday.
Police say Palmer shot 39-year-old Greg McDowell to death at World Changers Church International Church outside Atlanta in October. McDowell was killed as he led a prayer group. No one else was hurt.
Police records show Palmer was charged more than a decade ago with a shooting outside a Maryland mosque. Palmer was committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2004 after pleading not criminally responsible to the mosque shooting.
Palmer’s lawyer, Drew Findling, has said his client’s mental competency must be evaluated as the criminal case against him moves forward.

Louisiana
Judge declares mistrial in case of woman’s death

GRETNA, La. (AP) — A state judge declared a mistrial after defense attorneys provided evidence they say supports their client’s alibi.
The Times-Picayune reports 28-year-old Derrick Francois has claimed he was in Mississippi when Gretna police say he barged into a home in April 2011 and shot Chandrick Harris in the head.
Francois’s defense attorneys say that only this week they’ve gotten paycheck stubs that back their client’s claim that he was working in Pascagoula when Harris was killed.
In declaring the mistrial on Wednesday, Judge Conn Regan said he had to protect Francois’ constitutional right to a fair trial.
Regan ordered prosecutors and defense attorneys to be back in his court next week to select a new trial date.

Ohio
Village reaping big bucks with speed cameras

ELMWOOD VILLAGE, Ohio (AP) — An attorney challenging the use of traffic speed cameras says a southwest Ohio village has reaped some $700,000 from tickets.
Attorney Mike Allen says the speed cameras are “nothing more than a money grab.” He wants a Hamilton County judge to shut down the system in Elmwood Village, near Cincinnati.
Using traffic cameras for enforcement has been upheld in Ohio courts. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Allen is challenging the way the cameras were put into use last year, saying people’s due process was violated by insufficient notice and signage.
Business owners and a church pastor have said the speeding ticket blitz is deterring people from coming to the village. Police and others say it has made the village safer.
Closing arguments in the lawsuit are scheduled Jan. 24.

Wyoming
Lawmakers to consider life sentences bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers are set to consider a bill that would end mandatory life sentences for juvenile killers.
Authorities say changing Wyoming law is necessary because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The high court last year threw out mandatory life in prison without parole for juvenile offenders.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider a bill Thursday that would make Wyoming juveniles convicted of first-degree murder eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
The U.S. Supreme Court last year vacated a life sentence imposed on Wyatt Bear Cloud. He was one of three teens sentenced to life in the 2009 home invasion killing of Sheridan businessman Robert Ernst.
Bear Cloud and another defendant in the case have asked the Wyoming Supreme Court to overturn their life sentences.

New York
Man sentenced for shooting friend in scheme

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (AP) — A 19-year-old upstate New York man has been sentenced to one to three years in prison for shooting his friend in the chest as part of a scheme to get disability payments.
The Daily Gazette of Schenectady reports that Terrance Naylor of South Glens Falls was sentenced earlier this week in a Saratoga Count court for shooting 20-year-old Richmond Principe last June.
Police say the two friends staged a robbery during which Naylor shot Principe, just missing his heart. Principe has recovered.
The scheme called for Principe to collect disability payments and share them with Naylor. No payments were ever made.
Both men pleaded guilty in November, Principe to making a sworn false statement and Naylor to attempted assault.
Principe faces a year in jail when he’s sentenced Jan. 24.a

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