National Roundup

Massachusetts
Boston Marathon juror addresses death penalty

BOSTON (AP) - A juror in the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev says he probably would not have voted for the death penalty had he known that the families of some victims preferred a life sentence.

Kevin Fagan spoke to WBUR-FM on Monday, the same day a federal judge rejected a motion by The Boston Globe to publicly release the names of all jurors. Fagan is believed to be the first juror to speak publicly using his name.

He did not discuss deliberations but said he likely would have changed his vote in the penalty phase had he been aware of the opposition to the death penalty by the parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed by one of two bombs detonated by Tsarnaev and his brother. The bombs killed three people and injured more than 260.

"If I had known that, I probably - I probably would change my vote. But then again, if I knew that, I wouldn't be on the jury either," he said. The jurors were ordered by the judge to avoid media coverage of the trial.

Fagan is co-authoring an online book about his experience. "Juror 83 - The Tsarnaev Trial: 34 Days That Changed Me" is expected to be released at the end of September.

Fagan, 23, said he could relate to Tsarnaev because they are so close in age. Tsarnaev is now 22; he was 19 at the time of the bombings.

Fagan said he believed the defense claim that Tsarnaev was influenced by his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was killed during an attempted getaway several days after the bombings. But he came to the decision that Tsarnaev should receive the death penalty.

"He still chose to leave that bomb there for about 4½ minutes," Fagan said. "So it's hard to get away from that and the damage and strife that it caused."

New Jersey
Prosecutor: Man sent nude pic to O'Donnell's child

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - The owner of a home where comedian Rosie O'Donnell's teenage daughter was found last week sent the girl a nude photo, according to a criminal complaint released Monday.

Steven Sheerer, 25, is accused of having inappropriate online communications with 17-year-old Chelsea O'Donnell. He "knowingly distributed obscene images to a minor ... specifically a nude photo over the Internet," the complaint said.

The Barnegat man made his initial appearance in state Superior Court in Toms River on Monday afternoon, but did not enter a plea. He faces charges of child endangerment and distribution of obscenity to a minor. Bail remained at $40,000 cash, but a bail review was scheduled for Tuesday.

Ocean County prosecutors say he faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Sheerer's attorney, Robert Tarver, said he has notified prosecutors that he plans to present evidence that will show his client is not guilty. He declined to provide specific details.

Sheerer was arrested Friday night at his home. Chelsea O'Donnell was found at the home Aug. 18, hours after her mother posted a statement online saying the girl had left home in South Nyack, New York, a week earlier.

Authorities have said police went to the home and the person answering the door initially did not want to reveal Chelsea's presence. Police said they told the occupant they would not leave until she came out; Chelsea then appeared and willingly left with police.

Sheerer's arrest came several hours after authorities obtained the girl's cellphone with her mother's consent, prosecutors said. They found "inappropriate communications" over the last several weeks between Sheerer and Chelsea, prosecutors said.

Authorities seized a computer and other digital equipment at Sheerer's home when they executed a search warrant.

Court records show Sheerer pleaded guilty to drug offenses in separate cases in 2012 and 2013. In each case, he was sentenced to two years of probation.

Pennsylvania
Mom gets jail for allowing boyfriend to babysit toddler

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania woman who let her boyfriend watch her toddler son even though he was on probation for abusing the child before has been sentenced to jail.

The Altoona Mirror reports that 21-year-old Altoona resident Amber McBride pleaded guilty to child endangerment and was sentenced Monday.

Authorities say she let 23-year-old Altoona resident Christopher Kelly baby-sit her son in March 2014. The boy received new severe bruises.

McBride was charged after failing to report the new bruises to authorities. Blair County child welfare workers discovered the injuries 10 days later.

Kelly is now serving seven to 18 years in prison for hurting the boy. He claimed the boy had fallen from bed and struck a dresser.

Florida
Tattoo leads to capture of man wanted in killing

MIAMI (AP) - Police say a tattoo of a musical clef symbol and the name "Danei" led to the arrest of a 21-year-old North Miami man accused of killing a 73-year-old housemate by cracking a hot metal frying pan over his head.

The Miami Herald reports a U.S. deputy marshal spotted the tattoo when he pulled alongside Danei Washington Gordon as he rode a bicycle in Hartford, Connecticut, on Aug. 19. Federal agents had been searching for Gordon in Hartford.

Marshal's service inspector Barry Golden says Gordon gave agents a fake name, but the tattoo gave him away.

Miami-Dade detectives flew to Hartford to question Gordon, who's awaiting extradition to Florida. It's not known whether he has an attorney.

He faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Neville Smith.

Connecticut
Mother's murder case delayed by evidence backlog

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - The prosecution of a Connecticut woman charged with killing her two children by poisoning them with antihistamines is being delayed because of a backlog in state police investigations.

A prosecutor told a judge Monday that state police are "busier than normal" and haven't turned over evidence to the prosecution or defense.

LeRoya Moore is being held on $2 million bail on murder and other charges in the deaths of 7-year-old Daaron Moore and 6-year-old Aleisha Moore. Their bodies were found in their East Haven home June 2. Authorities ruled they died of an antihistamine overdose.

The New Haven Register reports that public defender Tejas Bhatt says he can't make any decisions about the case because he hasn't seen the evidence.

The case was continued until Sept. 28.

Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

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