National Roundup

Ohio
Man charged in sexual assaults of 7 women

CLEVELAND (AP) — Authorities say a man accused of sexually assaulted seven women between 1993 and 2003 has been indicted on numerous charges of rape and kidnapping in northeast Ohio.

A statement from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office says 58-year-old Jonas Rhodes was charged this week with 18 counts of rape and 12 counts of kidnapping linked to the sexual assaults of seven women between 1993 and 2003. The release says the Cleveland man allegedly targeted women walking in city neighborhoods and brandished either a gun or knife during the attacks.

Authorities say the charges stemmed from identical DNA found in seven rape kits submitted for testing by Cleveland police.

New Jersey
Judge: 14K cases may be affected by tainted lab work

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey judge says there could be nearly 15,000 drug cases that were possibly undermined after a forensic lab technician was accused of shoddy work.

The judge held a preliminary hearing on Wednesday to outline the process for vetting conviction challenges. He says the courts are expecting hundreds, if not thousands, of cases.

Suspended lab technician Kamal Shah, who worked at a State Police crime lab in Little Falls, is accused of not properly conducting laboratory analyses, peer reviews or administrative reviews of drug evidence.

Many defense attorneys have filed motions to have their clients’ convictions thrown out and guilty pleas withdrawn.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Williams says his office has re-tested 160 priority drug cases. None were deemed faulty.

North Carolina
Prosecutor targeted in kidnapping case is suspended

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina prosecutor whose father was kidnapped by a gang leader she prosecuted has been put on paid leave while the district attorney looks into accusations of misconduct on two unrelated cases.

News outlets report that Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman suspended Colleen Janssen on Monday, almost a week after an appeals court ruled she withheld and manipulated evidence in two robbery cases.

Janssen, an assistant district attorney, is accused of urging a Raleigh police detective to delay bringing drug charges against her key witness until after the 2014 trials.

Freeman says she expects Jans­sen’s actions will be reviewed by the North Carolina State Bar, the agency that licenses lawyers in this state.

Janssen’s father was kidnapped in 2014 under the direction of Kelvin Melton, who Janssen had prosecuted in 2012. The father’s captors were finalizing details to kill him when the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team stormed a southeast Atlanta apartment and rescued him, authorities said.

Massachusetts
Trial set for man charged in theft of human bones

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A trial date has been set for a Connecticut man charged with stealing human bones from a Massachusetts cemetery.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that a Worcester judge  scheduled a Jan. 9 trial for 32-year-old Amador Medina.

Medina is charged with stealing eight skeletons from two mausoleums at Hope Cemetery in Worcester. He pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say Medina told investigators he was a practicing Santeria priest. Santeria mixes Roman Catholicism with a traditional African faith and is widely practiced in the Caribbean.

Medina’s lawyer says the human remains found in his client’s home last year have not been forensically connected to bones that were reportedly stolen.

Prosecutors dropped charges against a second suspect, Felix Delgado of Bridgeport.

Delaware
Police: Man ­fatally shot by cop had lighter, not gun

FREDERICA, Del. (AP) — Authorities say a Maryland man fatally shot by a Delaware State Police trooper was carrying a cigarette lighter that looked like a gun.

State police spokesman Sgt. Richard D. Bratz  identified the man shot as 25-year-old Raymond A. Hutson of Greensboro.

Hutson was shot after Caroline County, Maryland, sheriff’s deputies pursued a stolen pickup truck into Delaware, where troopers joined the chase.

Officials initially said that Hutson, who was wanted for burglaries in both states, displayed a gun during the pursuit and ignored commands after stopping his vehicle to drop it.

Bratz says in a news release that what police thought was a small-caliber handgun was in fact a gun-shaped cigarette lighter.

The incident remains under investigation.

The trooper who fired at Hutson has been placed on administrative leave.

Massachusetts
CVS to pay $3.5M over allegations of forged scripts

BOSTON (AP) — CVS Pharmacy has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle allegations that dozens of its Massachusetts pharmacies violated federal law by filling forged prescriptions for addictive painkillers and other controlled substances.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced the settlement with the Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based drugstore chain Thursday.

CVS says it entered into the agreement to avoid the expense and uncertainty of further legal proceedings.

Ortiz’s office says the settlement resolves two investigations by the Drug Enforcement Administration after reports of forged oxycodone prescriptions. One involved hundreds of forged prescriptions at 40 CVS stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The other involved 120 forged prescriptions at 10 CVS stores in and around Boston.

CVS says it has tightened its policies and procedures to help its pharmacists determine whether a prescription is legitimate.

Nevada
Police: Man kills 3 kids at home, wife and then himself

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man chased and gunned down his wife outside a drug store and killed their three children at an apartment in Las Vegas before apparently shooting himself, leaving five members of a family dead, authorities said last week.

It appears the father killed himself in a bedroom, where he and the kids were found Wednesday night, police Lt. Dan McGrath said. The children ranged in age from 9 to 15, and it was not clear when they died.

The Clark County coroner’s office identified the woman and children as Phoukeo Dej-oudom, 35; Dalavanh Ariel Dej-oudom, a 15-year-old girl; and two boys, Anhurak Jason Dej-oudom, 9, and Xonajuk J.J. Dej-oudom, 14.

The woman was shot and killed around 7:30 p.m. as she ran screaming through the parking lot of a Walgreens store, police said.
 

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