National Roundup

New Jersey
Student denied probation for fake threats vs. blacks

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - A former leader of a black student group accused of tweeting anonymous threats against fellow black college students in New Jersey was denied a request to enter a diversionary probation program.

Kayla McKelvey, 25, is charged with creating a false public alarm at Kean University, where prosecutors said she tweeted anonymous threats from a campus library because she wanted more people to attend a November 2015 rally on racial issues. She then allegedly returned to the rally to tell people about the threats.

A judge on Thursday rejected an appeal from McKelvey to participate in pretrial intervention. The program would have allowed her to be placed on probation and have charges removed from her record if she successfully completed the terms.

Judge William Daniel, reading his decision from the bench, said McKelvey had given a statement to investigators in which she admitted sending the messages. "I went about it the wrong way," the judge quoted McKelvey as saying.

The judge found McKelvey failed to prove that prosecutors engaged in a "gross use of discretion," which is required to overturn their recommendation against pretrial intervention.

Prosecutors said the threats spread fear and panic on campus and $80,000 was spent for increased campus security and the investigation. Officials even alerted the Department of Homeland Security.

In seeking pretrial intervention, her lawyer had argued McKelvey was remorseful, had resigned from her job and had lost her friends.

Attorney Thomas Mirigliano said no decision has been made on whether to appeal the ruling.

Massachusetts
Dad fights to erase kids' $250k student loan debt

BOSTON (AP) - A Massachusetts man who owes about $250,000 he borrowed to put three children through college has won a major court victory in his effort to have the debt forgiven.

The Boston Globe reports that a federal appeals court has urged a bankruptcy judge to consider a settlement with the company that holds the loans to allow Robert Murphy, of Duxbury, to erase the debt.

A bankruptcy judge and district court judge previously ruled that the 65-year-old Murphy failed to prove repaying the loans was an undue hardship, as required by law.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals sent the proposed settlement back to bankruptcy court. It's now up to the bankruptcy judge to rule.

Murphy says he was unable to find work after being laid off 14 years ago.

Illinois
Widow of cop who allegedly staged suicide seeks pension

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) - The widow of a suburban Chicago police officer who authorities say staged his suicide to make it appear he was killed on duty has applied for her late husband's pension as she awaits trial on conspiracy charges.

Melodie Gliniewicz's husband, Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, died Sept. 1. Authorities say he staged his suicide because he feared discovery of his embezzlement of a youth program.

Her attorney, Brian Smith, says she is entitled to the pension and that criminal charges to which she has pleaded not guilty to should have no bearing.

Administrator Anne Marrin says Fox Lake hopes to have a seat at the table as the pension board deals with her request.

Pension board officials have previously said if Gliniewicz applied, the board would hold a hearing.

New York
Son convicted of driving SUV into house to kill mom

MONTICELLO, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say a man has been convicted of trying to kill his mother by ramming his SUV into her upstate New York home.

The Times Herald-Record of Middletown reports a Sullivan County jury on Thursday found 51-year-old Vincent Ryan Jr. guilty of attempted murder, assault and related offenses.

Prosecutors say Ryan had repeated disputes with his parents and they had a protection order against their son.

Ryan told investigators he wanted his parents investigated, so he planned to commit a hate crime to get attention from federal authorities. Instead, he then turned his attention to his mother.

Prosecutors say Ryan intended to kill his mother when he drove into Helen Ryan's Bloomingburg home last year, injuring her.

Ryan will be sentenced on July 21.

Louisiana
School band director found hiding in teen's closet arrested

GONZALES, La. (AP) - A high school band director in Louisiana has been arrested after authorities say he was found hiding in a 16-year-old girl's closet.

News outlets report officials say 30-year-old Jeremy Conner was charged Wednesday with indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Ascension Parish Sheriff's Lt. Col. Bobby Webre said in a statement Thursday that detectives began investigating the incident and learned Conner had been communicating with the girl since last year. He says Conner told deputies he sent inappropriate text messages to the teenager.

Conner is listed on Westgate High School's website as the band instructor. Iberia Parish Schools Superintendent Dale Henderson said in a statement that Conner is currently absent without leave.

Webre says more charges are possible.

Virginia
Attorneys want to film hearing in slain teen case

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) - A judge is considering whether to allow defense attorneys to film a preliminary hearing for a former Virginia Tech student charged with plotting a teenager's slaying.

Natalie Keepers is charged with helping plan the killing of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell and with illegally disposing of her body. Another former Virginia Tech student, David Eisenhauer, is charged with abduction and murder.

The Roanoke Times reports that Keepers' attorneys want to film the May 20 preliminary hearing to help them prepare their defense. They told a judge Thursday that the footage wouldn't be released to the public.

An assistant prosecutor argued that the images would belong to Keepers, and nobody could stop her from distributing them if she wished.

Montgomery County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Robert Viar did not immediately rule.

Published: Mon, Apr 18, 2016

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