National Roundup

Pennsylvania
Authorities: Man errantly texted prosecutor about drug swap

EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a man mistakenly sent a text message to a Pennsylvania prosecutor indicating that he wanted to trade marijuana for heroin.

Luzerne County prosecutors say Assistant District Attorney Jill Matthews received a text Nov. 2 using drug lingo that they called an “obvious text for a drug deal.” They say she later received a photo of a plastic bag containing a green substance on a scale.

Authorities said 29-year-old John Raimondo, of Plymouth, was arrested at the supposed drug swap outside a shopping center in Edwardsville, about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

He’s now being sought after failing to appear for a hearing.

Court documents don’t list a defense attorney. A listed number for Raimondo couldn’t be found Tuesday.

New York
Police: Man accused of murder came to target blacks

NEW YORK (AP) — A 28-year-old white man from Baltimore accused of stabbing a 66-year-old black man to death traveled by bus to New York City to the “media capital of the world” to make the biggest splash he could, police officials said.

James Harris Jackson turned himself in at a Times Square police station Wednesday morning and was arrested on a charge of murder, two days after his victim, Timothy Caughman, staggered into a police precinct bleeding to death, said Assistant Chief William Aubrey. Caughman had been picking through trash in Midtown on Monday when he encountered Jackson, who’d been wandering the streets in a long overcoat concealing a 26-inch mini-sword, police said. Jackson stabbed him repeatedly, they said. Caughman was taken to a hospital where he died.

According to police, Jackson wandered into the police station after noticing his photo in media reports.

“I’m the person that you’re looking for,” he told police, according to Aubrey. They recovered a 26-inch mini-sword. Jackson told police he’d harbored feelings of hatred toward black men for at least 10 years, and he’d traveled to New York on March 17 and was staying in a midtown hotel.

“The reason he picked New York is because it’s the media capital of the world, and he wanted to make a statement,” Aubrey said.

Police suggested that Jackson had been thinking of attacking others, but instead chose to turn himself in.

Utah
Officer: Teens plotted to shoot girl over texts

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Two teenage boys accused of shooting a girl in the head in small-town Utah concocted the plan while playing video games and discussing their desire to “get rid” of the girl who was texting one of them, authorities testified Tuesday.

Cache County sheriff’s Deputy Brian Groves took the stand to detail his interviews with the 16-year-old accused of pulling the trigger, The Deseret News reported.

Tuesday evening, a juvenile court judge ruled that there’s enough evidence for the boy to stand trial.

The teen and another 16-year-old boy are charged with attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice in the attack on Deserae Turner, 14. She survived, but her family says she has been battling for her life.

Groves said the teen who shot Deserae grabbed a gun from underneath his brother’s mattress and lured her to an isolated spot behind a high school.

She was found Feb. 17 in a dry canal in the small town of Smithfield, a bedroom community around Logan, where the hearing started Tuesday. A hearing for the other boy begins Thursday.

The Associated Press is not naming the boys because they are juveniles. Prosecutors said they will seek to have them charged as adults. Another hearing is scheduled for May 8 to determine if the boy accused of shooting the girl will be tried as an adult, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Investigators said they identified the teens after learning of text messages Deserae sent to a friend saying, “I’m getting picked on.”

Groves said the teen who fired the shot told the deputy that a week before the shooting, the boys met Deserae at a canal, where they had intended to slit the girl’s throat but didn’t go through with it.

The next time they all met, the boys brought the gun. The boy who opened fire said that without his friend there, he would not have had the courage to shoot Deserae, Groves testified.

The boys then broke her cellphone and iPod and took $55 they found in her backpack, police said.

Groves said that when he asked the boy why they took the money, the teen said, “greed.”


Idaho
Man who didn’t match DNA freed after 20 years

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho man who experts say was coerced into a false murder confession is now free after spending half of his life behind bars.

An eastern Idaho judge released Christopher Tapp on Wednesday morning after vacating his rape conviction and resentencing him to time served for the 1996 murder of Angie Dodd.

The release came after years of work by advocates including Judges for Justice, the Idaho Innocence Project and the victim’s mother, Carol Dodge.

Angie Dodge was 18 and living in an Idaho Falls apartment on June 13, 1996, when she was sexually assaulted and murdered at her home.

Tapp was a 20-year-old high school dropout at the time, and was interrogated for hours and subjected to multiple lie detector tests by police. He eventually confessed, but DNA evidence taken from the scene didn’t match Tapp or any of the other suspects in the case.

New Jersey
Sex offender admits groping woman on flight

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A registered sex offender has admitted that he improperly touched a sleeping woman aboard a flight from Israel to the U.S.

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say Yoel Oberlander pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault with intent to commit stalking. The 36-year-old New York man faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced June 28.

Prosecutors say the groping occurred aboard an El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Newark Liberty airport in May.

The victim was sitting next to Oberlander. He admitted touching her in the chest, upper thigh and hand without her consent.

Authorities have said Oberlander was convicted in 2002 in New York of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl.

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