Court Roundup

Ex-priest denied new trial in rape of two altar boys

BOSTON (AP) — A former Roman Catholic priest convicted of raping two altar boys in Berkshire County in the 1980s has been denied a new trial by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
Gary Mercure, former pastor at Our Lady of The Annunciation in Queensbury, N.Y., was convicted in February 2011 of rape of a child by force and indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14. He was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
The abuse took place on camping trips to the Berkshires.
The Berkshire Eagle reports Mercure argued in his appeal that the jury had been prejudiced after being allowed to hear testimony about alleged sex crimes against other former altar boys.
The appeals court ruled that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in allowing the testimony.

New Hampshire
Court rejects suit in fatal shooting of  police officer

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The father of a man who killed a police officer in Franconia, N.H., in 2007, has lost in his latest attempt to sue the town.
A federal appeals court rejected the lawsuit filed by David Kenney, who said the officer violated Liko Kenney’s constitutional rights.
The Caledonian-Record reports a panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston denied a petition for a rehearing earlier this year.
The order upholds a decision by a New Hampshire federal judge to dismiss the suit, citing a lack of evidence.
Liko Kenney fatally shot Police Cpl. Bruce McKay on May 11, 2007, after McKay pulled over his car and pepper-sprayed him. Bystander Gregory Floyd witnessed the shooting, picked up McKay’s gun and fatally shot Kenney.
David Kenney sued in 2010, saying McKay stopped Kenney’s car without cause and used excessive force. He said his son and McKay had a strained relationship dating back to 2003, when McKay first arrested him.
U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro noted that Kenney, whose registration had expired, had driven away when McKay first stopped his car. The judge said McKay was justified in using his cruiser to push Kenney’s car off the road and pepper-spraying him during the subsequent approach. He said courts have consistently held that use of pepper spray is reasonable when the target is either resisting arrest or refusing to obey an officer’s request.
David Kenney’s last judicial recourse is the U.S. Supreme Court. It wasn’t immediately known if he planned to petition it to review the appeals court decision. The Caledonian-Record reports Kenney, now lives mostly in Hawaii, could not be reached to comment.

Conviction tossed in slaying of man in wheelchair 

RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An appeals court has overturned the manslaughter conviction of a man accused of shooting a wheelchair-bound man.
The Times Daily reports the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals last week overturned Jerry Ronald Mills’ conviction and ordered a new trial. Mills was convicted a year ago in the death of 70-year-old Robert Leroy Presley. Mills was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Mills said he shot Presley in self-defense after Presley threatened him with a .22-caliber rifle. Prosecutors argued Mills shot Presley in anger.
The appeals court said the trial judge failed to give the jury adequate instructions regarding self-defense.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing says he’s asking the state attorney general to ask the appeals court to reconsider its ruling.
Mills is out of jail on $500,000 bail.

New York
Lockup recommended for man who sneaked into jails

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who repeatedly used phony credentials to gain entry into New York City’s jails may get his wish to do more time.
Prosecutors told a judge on Thursday that they want Matthew Matagrano to be locked up for 10 years. Matagrano, a former inmate, pleaded not guilty to felony burglary in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The judge doubled his bail to $100,000 and ordered him to get medical attention.
The New York Post reports that according to police statements released in court, Matagrano said he repeatedly sneaked into jails because the people inside were “nice” and made him “feel important.”
Authorities say Matagrano tried to get inside multiple city lockups, including Rikers Island and the Manhattan Detention Center, where he mingled with inmates for hours.

State appeals Va. Tech jury verdict in shootings

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The state is asking the Virginia Supreme Court to set aside a jury’s findings in favor of the families of two students who were slain in the April 2007 massacre on the Virginia Tech campus.
In a filing Thursday, attorneys representing the state are seeking to overturn the jury verdict one year ago that found the state negligent in the deaths of Julia Pryde and Erin Peterson. Their families argued that the two women might have survived the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history if the Blacksburg campus had been alerted sooner of a gunman’s first shootings.
Peterson and Pryde were among 32 students and faculty killed by Seung-Hui Cho (sung-wee joh), who then killed himself.
The state alleges several trial errors in its appeal.


  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »