National Roundup

Massachusetts
Lawyer seeks to suppress evidence in slain boy case

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - The lawyer for a Massachusetts man charged with assaulting a 5-year-old boy whose body was discovered in a suitcase off a highway is asking a judge to suppress evidence in his client's case.

Jeremiah Oliver was last seen alive in September 2013, but wasn't reported missing until December 2013. His remains were found off Interstate 190 in Sterling in April 2014. No one has been charged in the death.

Alberto Sierra and the boy's mother are awaiting trial on assault and reckless endangerment charges related to the alleged abuse of Jeremiah and his siblings.

Sierra's lawyer says that statements his client allegedly made to a jailhouse informant days before authorities discovered Jeremiah's body were obtained in violation of Sierra's constitutional rights.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Nov. 17.

Arizona
Court hearing to focus on lethal injection drug

PHOENIX (AP) - A judge presiding over a lawsuit that protests the way Arizona carries out executions is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday over a sedative that was recently abandoned as one of the state's lethal injection drugs.

Lawyers for the state are seeking to dismiss the lawsuit's claim that the sedative midazolam can't ensure that condemned inmates won't feel the pain that's caused by another drug in a three-drug execution protocol.

The state announced nearly four months ago that it was eliminating its use of midazolam after its supply expired and another supplier couldn't be found because of pressure from opponents of the death penalty. Attorneys for the state say the legal claim is moot because the drug won't be used in the future executions.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake scheduled the hearing after learning that Ohio now has a supply of midazolam and plans to resume executions there in January.

Executions in Arizona will remain on hold until the lawsuit is resolved. They were put on hold after the July 2014 death of convicted killer Joseph Rudolph Wood, who was given 15 dozes of midazolam and a painkiller and who took nearly two hours to die. His attorney said the execution was botched.

Several of the lawsuit's claims have been dismissed, but lawyers for the condemned inmates want to press forward with allegations that the state has abused its discretion in the methods and amounts of the drugs used in past executions.

Similar challenges to the death penalty are playing out in other parts of the country that seek more transparency about where states get their execution drugs.

States are struggling to obtain execution drugs because European pharmaceutical companies began blocking the use of their products for lethal injections.

Ohio
Judge reviews mom's confession in 3 sons' deaths

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio judge is reviewing recorded police interviews of a woman accused of suffocating her three young sons as he considers her lawyers' request to exclude her confession.

Attorneys representing 24-year-old Brittany Pilkington in the potential death penalty case say the statements were obtained unconstitutionally. They say authorities pressured her into confessing and she didn't understand what she was doing when she agreed to be interviewed without a lawyer.

Prosecutors say she was advised of her rights and her comments weren't coerced.

The Bellefontaine woman has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges.

Authorities allege Pilkington killed her toddler son and two infants over a 13-month period out of jealousy at the attention her husband gave the boys.

Her trial is scheduled for late February.

Pennsylvania
Man admits rape in broadcast sex assaults of boy, 6

CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania man has admitted he sexually assaulted a 6-year-old boy after authorities say they intercepted an internet broadcast of him raping the child and later discovered 10 other recorded assaults of the boy.

PennLive.com reports 20-year-old William Byers Augusta pleaded guilty in Carlisle on Tuesday to charges including rape of a child.

Prosecutors say Canadian authorities intercepted a broadcast of Byers Augusta sexually assaulting the boy in July 2015.

Investigators found videos showing Byers Augusta assaulting the child, including one of him and 62-year-old Ira Task simultaneously sexually assaulting the child.

Authorities say Task didn't wear protection despite knowing he had been HIV positive since 1994.

Task was sentenced in June to 17-1/2 to 40 years in prison.

Byers Augusta's sentencing is scheduled for January.

New York
Officer's use of gun, not Taser, on woman is probed

NEW YORK (AP) - Authorities say a New York City police officer shot and killed an emotionally disturbed, 66-year-old woman wielding scissors and a baseball bat, and investigators want to know why he didn't use his stun gun instead.

The state attorney general's office says it's determining whether the shooting falls under its jurisdiction.

Police say the sergeant had persuaded the woman to drop the scissors Tuesday night, but then fired after she swung the bat in a Bronx apartment.

Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen He says the reason it was not deployed will be part of the investigation.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued a statement condemning the shooting.

Georgia
Trooper accused of misusing police database for women's info

MARIETTA, Ohio (AP) - A former Ohio trooper already accused of stalking a subordinate's wife after an affair has been charged with finding or keeping personal information about 10 other women obtained from a law enforcement database without authorization.

William Elschlager was scheduled for arraignment on the new charges Wednesday in Washington County.

A message was left for his attorney.

Elschlager previously pleaded not guilty to charges including abduction, criminal trespassing, theft and menacing by stalking. That trial is scheduled for January.

The veteran trooper commanded the State Highway Patrol's Marietta post but was fired after officials learned about the stalking allegations.

He's also charged in Delaware County with stealing two guns in evidence that were supposed to be destroyed or returned when he patrolled in central Ohio. He pleaded not guilty.

Published: Thu, Oct 20, 2016

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