National Roundup

Washington
Judge sentences hit man to 30 years in prison

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced Timothy Suckow to 30 years in prison for the assassination of a Spokane businessman in a case that has ties to the North Dakota oil patch.

U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza sentenced 52-year-old Timothy Suckow on Friday for shooting Douglas Carlile in his upscale home in Spokane two years ago.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Mendoza sentenced two other men who pleaded guilty in the murder-for-hire plot, and delayed sentencing on a third.

Mendoza agreed with prison sentences of 10 years for Robby Wahrer, 35, who drove the van Suckow used to flee the scene of the shooting. He gave a 12-year sentence to Lazaro Pesina, 41, who was prepared to break in to the Carliles’ home with Suckow.

Mendoza will sentence Robert Delao later.

Illinois
Lawyers give to campaign of judge’s son

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A newspaper analysis has found that Illinois U.S. House 12th District candidate C.J. Baricevic has gotten most of his campaign funding from attorneys who work in the Belleville-based court system headed by his father.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Baricevic has received more than $246,000 from lawyers and others associated with more than 70 law firms. One of those firms has donated more than $37,000 through its lawyers and employees.

The Democratic candidate’s father, 20th Judicial Circuit Chief John Baricevic, disputes any connection between his position and attorneys donating to his son.

C.J. Baricevic says the support from lawyers comes from him being a partner in the Belleville law firm Chatham and Baricevic.

C.J. Baricevic is attempting to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Rep Mike Bost of Murphysboro.

Kansas
Freed man says state should end the death penalty

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A man who spent nearly 16 years in prison for a rape and killing to which his brother confessed wants Kansas to pull the plug on the death penalty.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 39-year-old Floyd Bledsoe shared his story over the weekend in the basement of a Lawrence church.

Bledsoe never faced the death penalty himself. But he was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of raping and killing 14-year-old Camille Arfmann. He was released in December after a DNA test and suicide notes indicated his brother, Tom Bledsoe, killed Arfmann.

Bledsoe says the court system is flamed and questioned what would have happened if he had been sentenced to death.

Kansas hasn’t executed anyone since it reinstated capital punishment in 1994.

Pennsylvania
Man acquitted of homicide faces other charges

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A man acquitted of homicide in the shooting death of an aspiring rapper in northwestern Pennsylvania is scheduled to go on trial again Monday on other charges in the case including voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Thirty-year-old Keith Horton is charged in Erie County in the November 2014 slaying of 21-year-old Arbie Wilson Jr. His first trial ended in a homicide acquittal and a hung jury on the other charges.

Authorities alleged that he and Jameele Williams chased Wilson after a fight at a hotel lounge and killed him in the drive-thru lane of a closed bank. Williams was also acquitted of homicide but was retried in February and convicted of firearms crimes and reckless endangerment.

Louisiana
Man found guilty in murder-for-hire plot of husband

COVINGTON, La. (AP) — A man who witnesses say used a zip tie and a towel to strangle a man in a St. Tammany murder-for-hire case has been found guilty.

The New Orleans Advocate reports a jury convicted Carlos Rodriguez on Friday of murder in Mario Scramuzza’s death. Scramuzza was found strangled in his Covington-area home in 2009.
Rodriguez was the last of four people to be convicted in Scramuzza’s death.

Rodriguez is accused of plotting the killing with the victim’s wife, Gina Scramuzza, who had given him money and bought him vehicles. She is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.
Two other men, Erly Montoya and Luis Hernandez, are in jail after being found guilty of helping Rodriguez rob and kill Scramuzza.

Rodriguez will be sentenced in July.

Pennsylvania
Man convicted of killing lawmaker’s 2 sisters at home

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been convicted in the murders of his neighbors, two sisters of an Iowa state lawmaker.

Allen Wade is now facing the possibility of the death penalty.

Allegheny County jurors on Monday convicted the 45-year-old Wade on all counts, including criminal homicide, robbery and burglary.

Prosecutors say Wade shot 44-year-old Susan Wolfe and 38-year-old Sarah Wolfe after they returned from work on Feb. 6, 2014, then stole a bank card and withdrew $600.

Wade’s public defender argued that police rushed to judgment to charge Wade because of the prominence of their sister, Democratic Iowa state Rep. Mary Wolfe.

Prosecutors are seeking a death sentence over life in prison without parole.

Arizona
Court to rule on privacy rights of probationers

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court will consider the privacy rights of people on probation.

The justices have agreed to consider a Maricopa County case in which a man on probation for drug convictions sought to suppress evidence obtained during a warrantless search of his residence.

An informant had said drugs were being sold from the man’s residence, and the man’s conditions of probation include submitting to warrantless searches.

A trial judge ruled that a probation search must be supported by a reasonable suspicion and that authorities didn’t have that basis for believing that the man was violating his probation.

However, the state Court of Appeals then ruled that the evidence could be used because what the appellate court called “the totality of circumstances” satisfied the constitutional protection from unreasonable searches.

 

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