National Roundup

North Dakota
Flight attendant charged in fake bomb threat signs plea deal

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A flight attendant accused of making bogus bomb threats on two Skywest flights in 2015 has signed a plea deal to avoid trial, but that could send him to prison for decades.

Twenty-three-year-old Justin Cox-Sever, of Tempe, Arizona, is accused of calling in fake bomb threats on a flight from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Chicago, and on a flight from Minneapolis to Dickinson, North Dakota.

Both flights made emergency landings. No one was hurt.

The plea agreement calls for Cox-Sever to plead guilty to four of the five charges against him related to interfering with an aircraft. Prosecutors will drop a fifth count, reducing the potential maximum prison sentence from 70 years to 50 years.

The plea deal was filed Saturday. It still needs the approval of a federal judge.

Maryland
Uncle of boy killed over ­birthday cake gets 10 years

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The uncle of a 9-year-old boy who was fatally beaten over a missing piece of birthday cake has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for handcuffing him to a chair and watching the mother's boyfriend pummel the boy senseless.

Twenty-five-year-old Jacob Barajas apologized at the hearing Monday in Hagerstown. He says he lived in fear of the boyfriend, Robert Wilson, who's serving 30 years for second-degree murder in the July 2015 death of Jack Garcia.

Barajas eventually called paramedics to the apartment where they all lived, but the mother, Oriana Garcia, sent the ambulance away. She'll be sentenced March 31 for first-degree child abuse resulting in death.

Barajas pleaded guilty in September to first-degree child abuse resulting in severe physical injury.

The judge suspended another 10 years of prison time.

Minneosta
Police officer pleads not guilty in Philando Castile shooting

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota police officer has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges in the July shooting death of a black man.

St. Anthony Officer Jeronimo Yanez entered his plea Monday in a brief hearing. Ramsey County District Judge William Leary III set a May 30 trial date.

Prosecutors say Yanez shot 32-year-old Philando Castile during a July 6 traffic stop after Castile told him he was armed. Castile's girlfriend was in the car and streamed the shooting's aftermath live on Facebook. Authorities later discovered Castile had a permit to carry a weapon.

Attorneys for Yanez, who is Latino, have argued that their client feared for his life and had no choice but to shoot Castile.

Alabama
Police: Teen charged with capital murder of child found dead

OZARK, Ala. (AP) - Police say a 19-year-old has been charged with capital murder in the death of a 2-month-old child in southeastern Alabama.

News media reports that Jaylin Jamal Toles was arrested after Dale County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call about an unresponsive child about 1:40 a.m. Saturday. The child was taken to Dale Medical Center, where the child was pronounced dead.

Ozark Police say Toles was charged due to the evidence and witness statements.

The child's body will be sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for further investigation. Police have not released information about the relationship between the child and the suspect.

California
Modesto agrees to settle lawsuit, then plaintiff dies

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) - A city in Northern California has agreed to pay nearly $750,000 to settle a lawsuit, but the plaintiff is now dead.

The Modesto Bee reports that Patricia Mugrauer sued Modesto last year after a police officer entered her home without a warrant and pushed her. Mugrauer, a disabled senior, fell and broke her hip.

The lawsuit was settled for $745,651.01 plus legal costs, but the 69-year-old Mugrauer died on Jan. 26, a week after the settlement.

One of her attorneys, Sanjay Schmidt, says Modesto still owes the money to Mugrauer's estate.

Blake Loebs, the lead attorney representing the city, says the city's lawyers have looked at the effect Mugrauer's death has on the case. He declined to comment further, saying some issues have not been resolved.

Maryland
Historically black colleges lawsuit has cost millions

BALTIMORE (AP) - A long-running dispute involving Maryland's historically black colleges has cost the Maryland Higher Education Commission millions.

The Baltimore Sun reports the commission has spent more than $2.2 million defending itself in the lawsuit, according to records provided to the paper under a Public Information Act request. The paper reports that about $925,000 went to law firm Venable LLP and $1.3 million to Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.

Advocates for the state's historically black colleges sued Maryland more than a decade ago, accusing the state of running a segregated university system.

Advocates argue that marquee academic programs at well-funded, traditionally white public universities erode similar programs at historically black colleges. They've called for some of the programs to be transferred to the historically black schools.

A trial on remedies began last month.

Arkansas
Mother of slain teen urges judge to reverse ruling

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Little Rock woman whose son was killed by a police officer who was later fired and charged with manslaughter wants a federal judge to reconsider a ruling dismissing the city and a former police chief from her wrongful death lawsuit.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Sylvia Perkins, mother of 15-year-old Bobby Moore, says the Jan. 27 ruling did not seem to adequately address documents she filed in the case.

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller dismissed the city of Little Rock and retired city police chief Stuart Thomas, leaving former officer Josh Hastings as the sole defendant.

Bobby Moore was shot and killed by Hastings about 5:30 a.m. Aug. 12, 2012, in a parking lot outside and apartment building. Hastings was tried twice but never convicted on a manslaughter charge.

Published: Tue, Feb 28, 2017

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