National Roundup

New Jersey
'Watcher' house goes back on the market as ­lawsuit continues

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey home supposedly stalked by an anonymous creepy-letter writer who goes by "The Watcher" is back on the market.

The current owners, a married couple with three children, bought it in June 2014 for nearly $1.4 million. But they refused to move in due to eerie letters they say they received from a person with a "mentally disturbed fixation" on the home.

The couple took the house off the market last summer after suing the previous owners. But they put the house up for sale again last week.

The six-bedroom, 3½-bathroom home is in Westfield, 25 miles west of New York City. According to an online post, it has high ceilings, fireplaces and "elegant foyers," and sits on nearly a half-acre. The listing price is $1.25 million.

The current owners, Derek and Maria Broaddus, claim in their suit that they should have been warned about the letter writer. They want the former owners to refund them the purchase price and pay punitive damages.

They claim one of the letters they received read: "Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them too (sic) me." The person signs the letters as "The Watcher."

In their suit, they claim they are unable to live in the home "without extreme anxiety and fear for their children's safety and wellbeing."

The former owners, John and Andrea Woods, have called the couple's account fiction and moved earlier this year to have the suit dismissed. But no decision has been made on that request.

The Woods said in a court filing that they received a single anonymous note days before the closing, but they deny the note was disturbing or claimed an ownership right to the home.

7 charged with murder in death of lottery winner

FITZGERALD, Ga. (AP) - Authorities say seven people have been charged in the shooting death of a recent Georgia Lottery winner.

Ben Hill County Sheriff Bobby McLemore tells WFXL-TV the seven suspects, who range in age from 17 to 28 years old, all face charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Authorities say three masked men broke into 20-year-old Craigory Burch Jr.'s Fitzgerald home in January, demanded money and then fatally shot Burch.

The attack came two months after Burch won $434,272 from hitting the Fantasy 5 jackpot.

McLemore says he expects there to be more arrests in connection with the attack, which investigators believe was targeted, and not random.

Woman facing eviction sets herself on fire

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) - A woman facing eviction from her Northern California apartment poured gasoline over her body and set herself on fire in a blaze that nearly killed her and almost destroyed the four-unit property where she lived, fire officials said Monday.

Fire investigator Cyndi Foreman said Melissa McMullin, 44, doused herself in gasoline, lay down on her bed and flicked a lighter igniting the Sunday evening blaze in Santa Rosa, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

"The room erupted in flames. She tried to escape out of her bedroom window. Her son . burst in and dragged her out and saved her life," said Foreman, a fire prevention specialist with the Central Fire Authority of Sonoma County who led the investigation.

McMullin was hospitalized with third-degree burns. Her son was treated for smoke inhalation. No one else was hurt, Foreman said.

While she is suspected of arson, she hasn't been arrested.

Fire officials estimated damage to the property to be as much as $500,000 because of the extensive damage to the building and belongings in the four apartments.

McMullin was due to be evicted April 30 because of ongoing disputes she was in with neighbors. She told investigators she had texted her sons a goodbye note and had intended to kill herself, said Foreman.

Suspect to be tried on double-murder charge

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) - A judge has ordered trial for a man charged with murder after an hour-long shooting spree in Riverside County last September that left two people dead and three wounded.

The Press-Enterprise newspaper reported Monday that 34-year-old James Paul Diaz will face charges including two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

Officers responded Sept. 26 to reports of gunfire in a string of incidents in Banning, including car-to-car shootings and an assault at a gas station.

Police said at the time that the attacks were random and the victims did not know the suspect.

Man gets 18 years in Tulsa festival shooting

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A man charged in the shooting of five people at a 2013 Hmong New Year's festival in Tulsa has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The Tulsa World reports that 23-year-old Boonmlee Lee was sentenced Monday after waiving his right to a trial. Lee was sentenced on one count of shooting with intent to kill, four counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Lee and the five people, who suffered injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening, are ethnic Hmong, who hail from Asian countries including Vietnam, Laos, China and Thailand.

Prosecutors think one victim was targeted because he mediated a dispute involving Lee's family that wasn't resolved in his family's favor.

DA: Quadruple homicide warrantsthe death penalty

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) - Prosecutors are calling the crimes of an eastern Kansas man convicted in a quadruple homicide "extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile."

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the sentencing phase of Kyle Flack's trial began Monday. The jury is hearing testimony to determine if the 30-year-old should be sentenced to death.

Flack was found guilty last week of capital murder in the 2013 deaths of Kaylie Bailey and her toddler daughter, Lana. Flack also was convicted in the deaths of Bailey's boyfriend, Andrew Stout, and his roommate, Steven White, at a rural Ottawa farmhouse.

Senior assistant attorney general Vic Braden says the killings of mother and daughter were done in an "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel manner." The defense hasn't yet made its case for life imprisonment.

Published: Wed, Mar 30, 2016