National Roundup

Florida
Sheriff's office: man dec­a­pitates his mother

OLDSMAR, Fla. (AP) - A Florida man is charged with first-degree murder after his mother was found decapitated outside their home on New Year's Eve.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Mario Gomez called 911 on Wednesday evening and told dispatchers that his brother Christian had killed their mother and cut off her head.

Deputies found Maria Suarez-Cassagne's body outside the Oldsmar home, near some garbage cans.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Thursday that Gomez had planned his mother's murder for two days.

Gomez was upset with his mother because she wanted him to move boxes around the house, and he was jealous of the attention Suarez-Cassagne paid to his brother, Gualtieri said.

The 23-year-old attacked his mother in the garage with an ax, severing her head, Gualtieri said. Gomez then allegedly dragged his mother's remains from the garage to the garbage cans.

Gualtieri told reporters that the crime was one of the worst his department had ever seen.

Gomez then fled the scene, but he was arrested a few blocks away after another 911 call reported a suspicious person riding a bicycle in the area.

Gomez confessed to killing his mother, Gualtieri said.

Investigators recovered the ax. Mario Gomez, 27, was not injured.

According to the sheriff's office, Gomez had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and previously was held under the Baker Act. Gomez also had other arrests in Pinellas County for loitering and prowling, resisting an officer without violence and disorderly conduct.

Pinellas County jail records did not show whether Gomez had an attorney.

Ohio
Shoplifting mom required to write letter to her kids

LOGAN, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio woman who had her children help her shoplift from a Wal-Mart has been ordered to write them a letter explaining what she did and why it was wrong.

Police in Logan in southeastern Ohio say Hallie Thomas and her two daughters took merchandise from a Wal-Mart last February and March.

The Logan Daily News reports the 36-year-old Thomas pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of petty theft and one count of child endangering.

Hocking County Municipal Court Judge Fred Moses ordered Thomas to write the letter and said he hoped she learned from her experience. The judge also sentenced her to 10 days in jail, fined her and ordered her to stay away from Wal-Mart.

Defense attorney Don Kline said Thomas accepted responsibility and was remorseful.

Connecticut
Police: Teen arrested for 'hail of bullets' threat

EAST LYME, Conn. (AP) - An 18-year-old man was arrested after allegedly threatening that a Connecticut town "better be ready for the hail of bullets" because he had been bullied for so long.

The threat by Tyler McKenzie prompted the East Lyme school district to cancel sporting events and plan for additional security measures when classes resume Monday, police said.

McKenzie was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace.

The arrest came about a week after the threatening comment was posted on YikYak, a social media website. State, local police and the FBI searched McKenzie's home in East Lyme and recovered evidence, authorities said.

Investigators say McKenzie admitted he wrote the threatening post. They say he acted alone, and they don't anticipate additional arrests.

McKenzie was held on a $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in at New London Superior Court on Friday.

Minnesota
Judge: Norway violated state's equal-pay law

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Norwegian government violated Minnesota's equal-pay laws by paying a female former employee $30,000 less than a male counterpart, a federal judge has ruled.

In a 191-page decision issued last week, Norway was also ordered to pay Ellen Ewald $170,594 - double her lost wages - plus $100,000 for emotional distress, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/14f9Qoz ) reported.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson of St. Paul also ruled that Norway must pay $1,000 to Minnesota's general fund for violating the state's Human Rights Act.

Ewald worked at the Norwegian Consulate in Minnesota. In her lawsuit, Ewald said she thought the money for the two positions would be split evenly between her and a male employee.

The judge rejected Norway's contention that there were material differences in their responsibilities that required the consulate to pay the other worker more. A message left Thursday for Norway's attorneys was not immediately returned.

Nelson said Ewald's attorneys now should submit their legal fees, including a calculation for prejudgment interest.

Lead Ewald attorney Shelia Engelmeier said fees will come close to $2 million, as there were four lawyers and because of "the time we were forced to spend because Norway fought us at every juncture and refused to do the right thing."

In the 12-day trial in April and May, Walter Mondale, the former Vice President and ex-head of the consulate, was caught in the middle as a representative of the Norwegian government, yet called to testify by Ewald's lawyers.

Mondale found himself defending the initial lower pay that Ewald received for a job that he said was not comparable to her male counterpart's. But he also testified that after Ewald learned of the disparity and protested, he and another consulate official urged Norway to rectify the problem.

Pennsylvania
Spring trial for judge accused of swiping cocaine

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - A retired western Pennsylvania judge accused of stealing cocaine seized in police investigations has been scheduled for a spring trial.

The Observer-Reporter reports Friday ex-Washington County judge Paul Pozonsky's trial on conflict of interest, theft, drug possession and other charges will start March 23.

A judge's ruled in October that prosecutors could use items seized without a warrant from Pozonsky's chambers as evidence because they were missing court exhibits, not personal property.

Pozonsky's lawyer argued a president judge's order to search Pozonsky's chambers was an illegal attempt to "circumvent the Fourth Amendment."

Prosecutors say they obtained the order over concern for "the integrity of the evidence."

The 59-year-old Pozonsky moved to Alaska in 2012 after 15 years as a common pleas judge.

Published: Mon, Jan 05, 2015

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