National Roundup

Wyoming
Son, dad, mom arrested in wake of odd kidnapping

PINEDALE, Wyo. (AP) — A father and son accused of heavily using drugs and tying up a woman and her four teenage daughters in a Utah home because they believed the family reported them to authorities surrendered five days later in Wyoming in a bizarre case that also led to the arrest of the younger man’s mother.

Flint Wayne Harrison, 51, and his son, Dereck James “DJ” Harrison, 22, were arrested Saturday after police said they lured the women, restrained them and beat the mother before the victims managed to escape.

Maryann Dalrymple Harrison went to Wyoming to help her son and was detained for a probation violation after leaving Utah without permission, authorities said. The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office in Wyoming didn’t provide further information about her, including why she was on probation or her relationship with the elder Harrison.

Both men have refused to talk to investigators trying to learn more about what led up to the violence last week. The break in the manhunt came after Flint Harrison turned himself in Saturday and then worked with authorities to help them find his son.

It’s not clear why the elder Harrison, who is a registered sex offender, surrendered. Hours later, his son was taken into custody without incident in a forested area of western Wyoming.

The younger Harrison told the U.S. Forest Service officer who arrested him that he had been hiding in the trees and brush most of the day until he saw a helicopter involved in the search and knew police were closing in, officials said. He walked toward officers manning a roadblock and surrendered.

“This is an incredible end to a very stressful day,” Sublette County, Wyoming, Sheriff Stephen Haskell said.

The men face various charges stemming from Tuesday attack’s in Centerville, Utah, including aggravated kidnapping and possession of a controlled substance.

The men are accused of tying up the mother and daughters with zip ties. When the elder Harrison hit the woman with a baseball bat, the teens began to break their ties, according to charging documents. In the struggle that followed, one girl slapped away a shotgun pointed at her throat and another grabbed the bat and hit the son, police said.

The victims ran from the house. The father and son had been using methamphetamine heavily over several days, leading to paranoia and the false belief the mother had turned them in, police said.

The younger Harrison was a close friend of the woman’s family. He often visited their home for dinner or picked the girls up from school. The teens, aged 13 to 18, had known him for several years.

The Harrisons fled after the attack and were eventually picked up by someone who took them to Salt Lake City, where they spent Tuesday night in a hotel, authorities said.

Pennsylvania
Police: Man threw gas on girlfriend as she smoked

BENSALEM, Pa. (AP) — Authorities on Sunday charged a Philadelphia man accused of throwing a cup of gasoline on his girlfriend while she was smoking, starting a fire that killed her after a dispute between the two.

Kevin Small, 46, of Philadelphia, was arraigned on homicide, arson and other charges Sunday afternoon in the death of Mellissa Bacon-Smith, 46.

The fire started in a room of the Lincoln Motel in the Philadelphia suburb of Bensalem, police said. Small told authorities he bought the gasoline from a convenience store across the street from the motel, according to a criminal complaint.

The blaze was reported around 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Fire crews reported thick black smoke coming from two rooms. The blaze was declared under control in about a half-hour.

When reporters asked Smith if he had anything to say to Bacon-Smith’s family, he responded, “I’m sorry.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.

At least three people were rescued from second-floor rooms following the fire. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Red Cross was assisting with displaced motel residents and customers, police said.


Nevada
NRA lobbying arm fights state’s gun background check

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The National Rifle Association is using its muscle to fight a Nevada ballot question that would create a universal background check for gun purchases in the state.

The association announced last week that its lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, launched a website encouraging people to vote against the measure, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

If passed, background checks would apply to private sales, including online and at gun shows.

The association says the measure is poorly written, costly and would make criminals out of law-abiding citizens.

Nevadans for Background Checks is pursuing the measure that supporters say closes a legal loophole to keep criminals from obtaining firearms. The measure made it onto the Nov. 8 ballot after legislators failed to pass it during the 2015 session.

New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg funds Everytown for Gun Safety, which donated $2.9 million of the $3.6 million contributed to Nevadans for Background Checks.

The NRA has criticized the involvement of the Bloomberg-funded group. “The law-abiding gun owners of Nevada need to know that Question 1 would cost them their money and their freedom,” spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said.

Nevadans for Background Checks spokeswoman Jennifer Crowe said the measure is endorsed by the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and supported by over 50 leaders in the state. Hundreds of people are volunteering to help get the measure passed, she said.


Wisconsin
Federal judge hears challenge to election laws

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An attorney challenging more than a dozen changes to Wisconsin election laws enacted since Gov. Scott Walker took office is telling a federal judge they are discriminatory, embarrassing “and a stain on the history of the state.”

The comments came during opening statements Monday in a trial challenging election law changes made since 2011.

Attorney Josh Kaul says those challenging the laws will present evidence showing the voter ID requirement and other new laws make it harder for blacks, Hispanics and other minorities to vote.
But Assistant Attorney General Clay Kawski says increased voter turnout since the laws went into effect disproves those arguments.

Kawski says Wisconsin election laws are “fair, easy to navigate and open to all.”

The trial was expected to last into next week.


 

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