National Roundup

Man seeking complaint against Sandusky

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — A man who claims former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky abused him as a teen will have a court hearing in October in his efforts to force state prosecutors to file criminal charges.
The now-43-year-old man last month appealed the state attorney general’s decision not to file a criminal complaint against Sandusky. The man met with state prosecutors in April, and was told the 1988 allegations were too old under the statute of limitations. But the man says changes to the statute of limitations in 2002 and 2006 should permit the charges now.
Sandusky’s attorney says Sandusky denies molesting the man at a football camp on the Penn State campus. Sandusky’s accuser was 16 then.
The Centre Daily Times reports an Oct. 22 hearing has been set.

Man convicted in dancer’s murder seeks new trial

GRETNA, La. (AP) — A man convicted in the death and dismemberment of a Bourbon Street dancer is seeking a new trial, citing a history of mental illness and three failed requests for a mistrial during his proceedings.
Terry Speaks is scheduled to be sentenced to life in prison Thursday in the 2013 death of Jaren Lockhart.
But multiple news agencies report that in a motion filed Monday, public defender John Benz argues that Judge Stephen Grefer should have asked Speaks about possible mental illness when the defendant sought to represent himself on the trial’s opening day. Benz’s motion says Speaks has been hospitalized for mental illness, including a suicide attempt.
Speaks and his girlfriend, Margaret Sanchez, are accused of cutting up Lockhart’s body and dumping the remains along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Settlement in infant death at military hospital

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. government will pay $1.3 million to the family of a baby who died at a Hawaii military hospital, according to a settlement announced Monday in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Rachael Reynolds’ parents sued the government after the 4-month-old died three years ago at Tripler Army Medical Center.
The baby was taken to the emergency room Oct. 18, 2012, after several days of labored breathing and an upper respiratory infection, the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, the hospital’s negligence included an oxygen mask that didn’t fit properly on the infant’s face.
Rachael’s parents took her off life support after being told she had severe and likely irreversible brain damage. She died in her parents arms on Oct. 22, 2012, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleges the child suffered “great physical pain, suffering, discomfort, emotional injuries and distress” because of the hospital’s actions.
However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry Yee said the government admits no liability or fault by settling. A hospital spokesman deferred comment to the United States Army Legal Services Agency, which didn’t immediately respond to a phone message left after business hours on the East Coast.
The settlement amount is still subject to final approval by the Justice Department. The lawsuit, filed last year in federal court in Honolulu, was scheduled to go to trial in October.
Richard Fried, the Honolulu attorney representing the family, declined to comment until the settlement is approved and finalized. Rachael’s father, William Reynolds, said he wasn’t ready to comment.
Medical malpractice settlements are often confidential, except when a government institution is involved.

Court: No new trial for man in parents’ death

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Supreme Court says a Milwaukee man accused of killing his parents doesn’t deserve a new trial to determine if he was mentally responsible for his actions.
Corey Kucharski pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease in connection with the 2010 deaths of Ralph and Pamela Kucharski. A judge found Kucharski was mentally responsible for the crimes. Kucharski was sentenced to life.
A state appeals court in October granted Kucharski a new trial, ruling he was in a psychotic state when he killed his parents.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that the appeals court erroneously exercised its discretion and a new trial wouldn’t produce a different result.
Kucharski’s attorney, Matthew Pinix, says he’s disappointed for Kucharski and the court’s decision curtails appellate courts’ powers.

Court rules on reviews of police officer files

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court has refused to require prosecutors to review police officers’ personnel files for evidence that may exonerate a defendant.
The ruling Monday follows a San Francisco Superior Court judge’s decision that prosecutors in a domestic violence case were entitled to access the personnel files of two officers. The prosecutors had learned from police that the officers may have information in their personnel files that should be disclosed to the defense.
San Francisco police and the district attorney’s office say giving prosecutors such unfettered access to police personnel records could jeopardize officer privacy. The Superior Court says it is already overburdened and does not have the resources to review what could amount to hundreds of pages of records.

Man charged with flicking lighter at man pumping gas

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — A central Pennsylvania man has been jailed on charges that he risked a catastrophe when he flicked a cigarette lighter near another man who was pumping gasoline.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for 27-year-old Andrew Dick, who was arrested Monday.
The Altoona Mirror reports the charges stem from an incident outside a convenience store Friday night in Logan Township. That’s about 90 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Police say a motorist came out of the store to find the suspect drunk and attempting to talk to the motorist’s girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat.
Dick was apparently trying to solicit a ride home and began flicking his lighter when the car’s owner was pumping gas.
Dick is also charged with disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and simple assault.