National Roundup

California

Court: Batmobile can be copyright protected

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Batman won't have to worry about Batmobile knockoffs after a federal appeals court ruled the caped crusader's vehicle is entitled to copyright protection.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday the Batmobile's bat-like appearance and other distinct traits make it a character that can't be replicated without permission from DC Comics, the copyright holder.

The ruling came in a lawsuit DC Comics brought against Mark Towle.

Towle produced replicas of the Batmobile as it appeared in the 1966 television show featuring Adam West as Batman, and the 1989 movie with Michael Keaton in the lead role. The 9th Circuit said Towle sold the cars for about $90,000 each.

Texas

Man convicted for failing to take care of corpses

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A former North Texas funeral home owner has been convicted of theft after accepting money to care for bodies but failing to do so before the mortuary abruptly closed.

Deondre Johnson was convicted Wednesday by jurors in Fort Worth. He faces up to two years in state jail. Johnson also faces trial later on seven counts of abuse of a corpse.

The Johnson Family Mortuary closed in mid-2014 due to nonpayment of rent. Investigators who later went through the site found several bodies left in advanced stages of decomposition, with some remains difficult to identify.

Prosecutors say Johnson accepted payment then failed to provide services such as cremation.

His wife, mortuary co-owner Rachel Hardy-Johnson, was sentenced in June to two years in federal prison for felony food stamp fraud.

Virginia

@ROUND UP Briefs Headline:<t-1f$>Man convicted of hanging dummy by noose in yard

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man accused of hanging a black-faced dummy in his yard where his black neighbors could see it has been convicted of violating a state law against displaying a noose to intimidate people.

A judge returned a guilty verdict Tuesday against 51-year-old Jack Turner of Rocky Mount. Turner could face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $2,500.

Multiple news outlets report Turner was arrested in June after hanging a life-sized dummy wearing a black ski mask from a tree in his yard. Turner initially told investigators the dummy was a scarecrow, said Franklin County Sheriff's Capt. Paul Caldwell. However, Turner later said the figure was meant to scare people and that he is racist.

A 2009 Virginia statute makes it a felony to display a noose with the intent of intimidating someone. Prosecutor Robert Deatherage said he believes this is the first time someone had been convicted under the statute.

Neighbors John and Kena Mitchell, who are African American, testified that Turner was cordial when they first moved into a house next door to him in November 2013. Relations gradually soured, they said, and Turner began calling the police to report disturbances. They also testified that Turner raised his middle finger to them on several occasions.

On the afternoon of June 17 - the same day that nine black churchgoers were massacred in Charleston, South Carolina - the dummy was hung in the noose in Mitchell's yard.

Since Turner's arrest, he has displayed a Confederate flag on his porch and another in a window that faces the Mitchells' home, witnesses said.

Defense attorney Holland Perdue argued the noose was displayed on private property, while the state law applies to nooses displayed in a "public place." He said in this case, it amounted to constitutionally protected free speech. The defense plans to appeal the judge's decision, Perdue said.

Turner is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8 in Franklin County Circuit Court.

New York

@ROUND UP Briefs Headline:<t-1f$>Probation for man selling fake Viagra and Cialis

NEW YORK (AP) - A man has been sentenced in New York City to five years on probation for selling fake Viagra and Cialis pills that were less potent and filled with rubber.

Prosecutors say 49-year-old Babou Jobe (JOH'-bee) was arrested in September 2014 with 14,000 fake Viagra and Cialis pills in bottles and blister packs.

The Viagra pills contained the active ingredient of the real erectile dysfunction drug but at less than 15 percent of the advertised dosage. Prosecutors say the filler included vulcanized rubber.

Investigators say Jobe told them he knew the pills were fake and admitted that he'd been selling the counterfeits since 2012.

Jobe pleaded guilty earlier to second-degree trademark counterfeiting.

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson says Jobe also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. He paid half of it Wednesday.

Arkansas

State AG to ask high court to look at abortion law

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she'll ask the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the constitutionality of an Arkansas law banning most abortions 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy.

A federal judge found the law unconstitutional in 2014 and a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. Rutledge said Wednesday that she'll file the request with the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming weeks.

Arkansas' Legislature passed the law in 2013 that banned abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy if a heartbeat is detected, making it one of the strictest measures in the country. It never took effect after U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled that abortion restrictions must be based on a fetus' ability to survive outside the womb, not a heartbeat.

Florida

Woman gets 50 years for killing woman, unborn

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A Jacksonville woman has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for shooting a pregnant woman and causing the death of the woman's unborn baby.

A Duval County judge sentenced 36-year-old Virginia Denise Wyche on Tuesday. The Florida Times-Union reports that a jury rejected her self-defense claims and found her guilty in July of second-degree murder of the unborn child and second-degree attempted murder.

Authorities say 24-year-old Makeisha Nicole Brooks went to Wyche's home in April 2014 to confront the other woman about vulgar name suggestions Wyche had made about Brooks' unborn baby on Facebook.

A defense attorney said Wyche only shot Brooks after Brooks and her sister verbally abused her for over 10 minutes and then slapped her.

Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

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