National Roundup

Connecticut
Home invasion killer of 3 says, ‘I just snapped’

SOMERS, Conn. (AP) — A man convicted in the brutal home invasion killings of a Connecticut woman and her two daughters in 2007 said no one was supposed to get hurt and he “just snapped” before he and an accomplice set fire to the house.
“To this day I don’t know why it happened, I just wanted money. That’s all I was looking for,” Steven Hayes said in an hour-long jailhouse interview with the New Haven Register, which published his comments in Sunday’s editions.
Hayes, 50, and Joshua Komisarjevsky, 33, were convicted of capital felony, murder, sexual assault and other crimes and sentenced to death for the July 2007 killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, at their home in suburban Cheshire.
The two men, both convicted burglars, spotted Hawke-Petit and Michaela at a local grocery store, followed them and later broke into their home. Komisarjevsky beat Dr. William Petit, the only survivor, with a baseball bat, and Hayes later went with Hawke-Petit to a bank and forced her to withdraw $15,000 under the threat of harming her family.
Authorities said Hayley and Michaela were tied to their beds. Komisarjevsky sexually assaulted Michaela, and Hayes strangled and sexually assaulted Hawke-Petit. The two girls died from smoke inhalation after Komisarjevsky and Hayes set the house on fire and fled before crashing into police cruisers and being arrested.
Hayes said he and Komisarjevsky were going to leave after he returned from the bank with Hawke-Petit. But then, he said, Komisarjevsky told him that he sexually assaulted Michaela.
“I started to lose it,” Hayes said. “Then I looked out the window and saw an unmarked police car. And I just snapped.”
He said what happened next, including his assaulting Hawke-Petit, “wasn’t who I am.”
“I wasn’t thinking right; I don’t know what I was thinking. It was so unlike me. I’d never done anything like that,” he said.
Both Hayes and Komisarjevsky have blamed each other for escalating the crime.
In his first interview since being convicted in 2011, Komisarjevsky told The Associated Press last year that he tries not to think about the crime and suffers no nightmares about it. He declined to talk directly about the crime, citing advice from his lawyers.
At the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Hayes told the Register he can’t stop thinking about the Cheshire murders. He also said he no longer thinks about killing himself.
“I realize now I’ve got to live with this pain,” he said. “It’s something I’m supposed to live with.”
William Petit didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Hawke-Petit’s sister, Cindy Hawke-Renn, called Hayes’ comments “too little, too late.”
“How do you plan such behavior and allow people to die at your hands and burn alive, especially when you have children of your own? Snapped? Doesn’t sound like an excuse to me,” she told the newspaper.

Iowa
Blind people are now granted gun permits in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa law enforcement officials are debating the wisdom of granting gun permits to blind people.
The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa law doesn’t allow sheriffs to deny a permit to carry a gun in public based on physical ability.
Some sheriffs have been granting gun permits to people with visual impairments while others have been denying them. Blind people and other Iowans can obtain the permits for carrying a weapon in public because of changes to state law that took effect in 2011.
Jane Hudson with Disability Rights Iowa said keeping legally blind people from obtaining weapon permits would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Some other states, including Nebraska, require anyone applying for a gun permit to provide proof of their visual ability by supplying a driver’s license or doctor’s statement.
Hudson said she thinks someone could successfully challenge Nebraska’s vision restriction because federal law requires states to analyze a situation individually before denying a service.
“The fact that you can’t drive a car doesn’t mean you can’t go to a shooting range and see a target,” Hudson said.
Polk County officials said they have issued weapons permits to people who can’t drive legally because of vision problems at least three times. Sheriffs in Jasper, Kossuth and Delaware counties say they’ve also granted permits to Iowans with severe visual impairments.
“It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads, we can’t deny them (a permit) just based on that one thing,” said Sgt. Jana Abens, a spokeswoman for the Polk County sheriff’s office, referring to a visual disability.
It’s not clear how many people with visual impairments have permits to carry weapons in Iowa because no one collects that information.
Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere questioned whether visually impaired people should be able to obtain these weapons permits.
“At what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm? If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something,” LeClere said.
Even Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, said guns may be a rare exception to his philosophy.
“Although people who are blind can participate fully in nearly all life’s experiences, there are some things, like the operation of a weapon, that may very well be an exception,” Clancy said.
But in Cedar County, blind people would find a welcoming audience if they applied for a weapons permit. Sheriff Warren Wethington has a legally blind daughter who is 19, and she plans to apply for a permit when she’s eligible at 21.
“If sheriffs spent more time trying to keep guns out of criminals’ hands and not people with disabilities, their time would be more productive,” Wethington said.

New York
Managers of the fund that ‘broke buck’ back deal

NEW YORK (AP) — The managers of a money market fund whose failing assets raised fears about other such funds during the 2008 financial crisis have agreed to pay $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by investors.
The money will go into what’s left of Reserve Management Co.’s Reserve Primary Fund. The managers also agreed to give up $42 million of their $72 million in claims for legal and other expenses.
Managers Bruce Bent Sr. and his sons Bruce Bent II and Arthur Bent III admitted no wrongdoing in the proposed settlement, filed late Friday in federal court in New York.
The Reserve Primary Fund “broke the buck” — its assets fell below the level needed to fully repay investors — after investing heavily in bonds from Lehman Brothers.?

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