National Roundup

Maryland
Doctor says mom not criminally responsible

LA PLATA, Md. (AP) - A court-appointed forensic psychologist says a woman who was found pushing her dead son in a playground swing in Maryland last year suffers from schizophrenia and is not criminally responsible in the child's death.

The Washington Post (wapo.st/1T0nkLO) reports it's unclear how the report could affect the case of 25-year-old Romechia Simms and whether a judge will declare her not criminally responsible or reject the findings and move forward with the proceedings. Simms' trial was scheduled to begin Monday in Charles County.

Authorities have said Simms put her 3-year-old child, Ji'Aire Donnell Lee, in a playground swing the morning of May 20. She was spotted the morning of May 22 pushing her child's lifeless body. A medical examiner ruled the boy died of dehydration and low body temperature.

Pennsylvania
Cops: Worker threatens to use oxygen tank to blow up school

CHICORA, Pa. (AP) - A cafeteria worker has been charged with threatening to use her oxygen tank to blow up the Pennsylvania public school where she worked.

The Butler Eagle reports that 52-year-old Kimberly McElravy, of Petrolia, is accused of making the threats Feb. 5.

Karns City School District Superintendent Eric Ritzert says the threat was made to other employees and wasn't made in the presence of schoolchildren. The superintendent says school wasn't disrupted and no students were endangered.

Online court records show state police have mailed misdemeanor charges of terroristic threats and harassment to McElravy, along with a citation for disorderly conduct.

McElravy declined to comment when reached at home Monday by The Associated Press. A preliminary hearing on the charges hasn't been scheduled.

McElravy remains on unpaid leave.

Tennessee
Jury selection to begin in Andrews' videos lawsuit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jury selection began Monday in the case involving sportscaster and TV host Erin Andrews, who filed a $75 million lawsuit against the franchise owner and manager of a luxury hotel and a man who admitted to making secret nude recordings of her in 2008.

In 2009, Michael David Barrett pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles federal court to renting hotel rooms next to Andrews in three cities, altering peepholes and shooting videos in Columbus, Ohio, and Nashville.

Andrews was staying at the Marriott at Vanderbilt University in 2008 while covering a football game for ESPN. She alleges that someone affiliated with the Nashville hotel told Barrett where Andrews was staying and allowed him to stay in the room next to hers.

Florida
Cheese on garlic knots sparks brawl at pizzeria

PALM COAST, Fla. (AP) - A brawl broke out at a Florida pizzeria after an order of garlic knots arrived with cheese on top.

A Flagler County police report says 25-year-old Jessica Conti demanded her money back late Friday and was angered when the clerk put her money on the counter in what Conti considered a disrespectful manner.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports three men then stormed into Palm Coast Pizza and knocked a fax machine and cash register off a counter. They also threw food and pizza boxes.

They left before deputies arrived. But someone at the restaurant identified them. Deputies soon tracked them down and arrested them.

Conti, along with Vincent Conti, Hareem Jones and Shawn Cody were charged with burglary and criminal mischief. They were released from jail. It's unclear whether they've hired lawyers.

Mississippi
Mother wanted to speak to son before shootout

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The mother of a man who shot four Mississippi law enforcement officers and was killed in a shootout says authorities refused to let her talk to her son during nearly six hours of negotiations.

Katherine Hudson said she thinks family members could have convinced Charles Lee Lambert, 45, to end the standoff without bloodshed.

Lambert had holed up in a house near Iuka in northern Mississippi. Authorities stormed the house early Saturday and Lambert began shooting. James Lee Tartt, 44, an agent in the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, was killed and three other officers were wounded in the shootout that followed.

A preliminary autopsy report indicates that Tartt was hit in the left shoulder by a single bullet from an assault rifle, Tishomingo County Coroner Mack Wilemon said Sunday night.

Lambert also was killed; his autopsy had not yet been performed.

"We could have talked to him and everything would have been all right," Hudson told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain told the newspaper the officers are trained, and their first goal is keeping people alive. The family is entitled to their opinion on how the incident was handled, he said, and declined further comment.

He did not respond Sunday to The Associated Press's emailed and phoned queries about Hudson's comments and the names, conditions and other information about the three wounded officers.

In a statement late Sunday, Tishomingo County Sheriff John Daugherty said that the names of the wounded officers could have ended up on the agency's memorial monument but "Fortunately, all three have good prognoses and should recover." He did not name the wounded officers.

Jasper County Sheriff Randy Johnson identified the most seriously wounded officer, who was hospitalized in Corinth, as Trea (TRAY) Staples.

Strain said Saturday that officers had exhausted negotiations when they stormed the house.

He described Tartt as a decorated officer who had been in law enforcement for 22 years. He joined the narcotics bureau in 2000 and in 2011 had been honored as agent of the year, Strain said.

Strain said Tartt is the fifth Bureau of Narcotics agent killed in the agency's 45-year history. The last agent killed was in 1998.

Tartt's family described him as a dedicated officer who had spent most of his career as a narcotics officer.

His uncle, Don Tartt, told the newspaper Lee Tartt had married about a year ago, making him stepfather to his wife's two children. The family had just moved into a house that had taken his nephew two years to build, Don Tartt said.

Published: Tue, Feb 23, 2016

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