National Roundup

New York
Ex-NHLer plea­ds guilty to role in gambling ring

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - A professional hockey player has admitted being part of an illegal sports betting business.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul says Nathan Paetsch (paytch), of Spencerport, New York, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Rochester as part of a plea agreement.

The agreement calls for probation, community service and eight months of home confinement. He'll also have to forfeit $265,000.

Paetsch played portions of five seasons with the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, through 2010. He's been with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins the past three seasons.

Authorities say Paetsch was involved in a gambling operation whose three principals were convicted earlier. Paetsch's attorney says his involvement was minimal and included getting credit when he introduced friends, including other players, to the operation.

The attorney says the players never bet on hockey.

Tennessee
Nun likely to remain free; no appeal in case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists are likely to remain free because the government said Monday that it will not seek to have a sabotage charge reconsidered.

Sister Megan Rice was originally sentenced to three years for vandalizing an Oak Ridge, Tennessee, bunker storing much of the nation's bomb-grade uranium. Sixty-six-year-old Michael Walli and 60-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to five years.

Rice said in a phone interview that the news that about the appeal is a relief. However, she said she still wants the facts to get out about the purpose of the action.

"We were exposing and opposing crimes against humanity, which the intention to build weapons of mass destruction happens to be, most blatantly," she said.

In 2012, the activists cut through fences and sneaked into the most secure area of the Y-12 National Security Complex. Once there, they hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: "They will beat their swords into ploughshares."

They were convicted in 2013 of sabotage, but last month, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Cincinnati, threw out that conviction.

The activists were ordered resentenced on a remaining conviction for injuring government property. However, they were released from prison on the grounds that their new sentences would likely be shorter than the two years they had already served.

The deadline for the government to appeal was Monday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Theodore confirmed the government will not seek a rehearing.

The activists still are required to pay nearly $53,000 in restitution to the government.

Noting that she and the others have taken vows of poverty, Rice said, "You can't milk a dry cow."

New Jersey
Man who carved swastika in lawn pleads guilty

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man accused of carving a swastika into the lawn of a family he had harassed has pleaded guilty to bias intimidation.

Ocean County prosecutors say 36-year-old Lakewood resident Scott Cooney entered his plea Monday. They will recommend that he receive a 15-month term when he's sentenced Aug. 21.

Authorities say Cooney repeatedly harassed and threatened the family over a period of several months before he went to their home last August and used a lead pipe to carve the swastika into their lawn. The family stayed inside their home because they did not want to provoke a confrontation.

Once Cooney left, they took a photo of the swastika and contacted police. Cooney was arrested a few days later.

Florida
Animal activists trying to free orca lose appeal

MIAMI (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling against animal rights groups that want a captive killer whale removed from an oceanarium in Florida.

The case concerns an orca named Lolita that has lived at Miami Seaquarium since 1970. Last year, a local judge dismissed the groups' lawsuit which alleged that the tank holding Lolita violates government animal welfare standards.

An appeals court said last week that although the judges "are sensitive to the plight of Lolita and other animals exhibited across the country," the orca could remain on display at the Seaquarium and that its rights were being met.

The animal rights groups had argued that agriculture officials were just "rubber-stamping" license renewals and that such a practice undermined the law.

Florida
Man accused of drowning rabbit in hotel pool

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A 49-year-old man is accused of drowning his pet rabbit in a hotel swimming pool near Tampa.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says Steve B. Rodd of Tampa intentionally dropped the rabbit into the pool at the Vista Inn on Friday. He was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals on Monday.

Sheriff's officials say Rodd stood on the pool deck, tossed the rabbit into the water, and walked away after about two minutes when the animal went still.

A guest at the hotel told officials that he saw the rabbit floating in the pool and that maintenance staff removed it.

Rodd is in the Hillsborough County Jail. According to records, he doesn't yet have an attorney to contact for comment on the case.

Mississippi
Video voyeurism case before State Supreme Court

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A former Mississippi minister convicted of secretly videotaping women taking showers at his home is seeking a new trial.

Attorneys for Samuel Allen Nuckolls are to argue Monday to the Mississippi Supreme Court that he was charged in 2011 for instances between 2007 and 2009 of making secret videos of women taking showers at his home.

Nuckolls argues that the two-year statute of limitations on the alleged crimes had expired by the time he was charged.

Prosecutors acknowledge the timeline, but they say Nuckolls' transfer of the videos to the computer in 2011 was "well within any statute of limitations."

Nuckolls, now 36, was convicted in 2012. He is serving at 10-year sentence. He was ordered to pay more than $80,000 in fines and restitution.

Published: Tue, Jun 23, 2015

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