National Roundup

Pennsylvania
Cops: Man’s GPS led him to drive into LeHigh River

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — Police say a driver’s global positioning system device caused him to drive into a Pennsylvania river.

The (Easton) Express-Times says the motorist wound up in the Lehigh River in Easton shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

They say the man’s GPS led him to drive along a bicycle path in a park. When the man realized he couldn’t drive on the path, he reversed course but found he couldn’t go that way either because of a tunnel under a low bridge.

Police say the man was unable to stay on the bike path because it narrowed, and his car rolled off the path sideways into the river.

Police say the driver wasn’t hurt, but he was issued several traffic citations. Online court records didn’t list them Wednesday.

Mississippi
Police: Woman took taxi home after bank robbery

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi woman accused of robbing a bank and fleeing in a taxi has been arrested.

News outlets report 35-year-old Dominique R. Spears was arrested at her apartment after a Yellow Cab driver told police that he picked her up at a Wells Fargo Bank on Tuesday.

Ocean Springs police Capt. William Jackson says the robbery was reported at 10:51 a.m. Responding officers received information that the suspect had left the scene in a taxicab.

A traffic officer followed the taxi and witnessed the driver drop off Spears at the Reserve Apartments about 3 miles from the bank.

Police arrested Spears on a robbery charge. It’s unclear if she has a lawyer.

Kentucky
Man who posted apology online before slaying pleads guilty

SCOTTSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man who made a public apology on Facebook minutes before the mother of his infant child was shot to death has pleaded guilty to killing her.

The Daily News reports 24-year-old Ethan Reid pleaded guilty Tuesday in Allen Circuit Court to a charge of murder-domestic violence. There was no plea deal. He fatally shot 20-year-old Kayla Hodges last October at a Scottsville residence.

Police say Reid posted an apology on a Facebook account shortly before the shooting. It said in part, “Sorry guys. I’m truly not this bad of a person. I’ve been pushed to this point over of time.”

Prosecutor Clint Willis said he had planned to put Reid on trial because the victim’s family didn’t want a plea deal.

Reid will be sentenced on Nov. 29.

Kansas
Prosecutors appeal gun ruling in plot against Somali workers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are appealing a judge’s decision to throw out a firearms charge against a man accused of plotting to attack Somali immigrants in a meatpacking town in western Kansas.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in August dismissed a firearms charge against Curtis Allen along with evidence upon which that charge is based.

The government appealed that ruling Tuesday. Prosecutors contend that the evidence is substantial proof of a material fact in the case.

Allen and co-defendants Patrick Stein and Gavin Wright still face charges of conspiring to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex in Garden City where Somali immigrants live. All three have pleaded not guilty.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Wednesday that prosecutors do not expect the appeal to delay the Feb. 20 trial.

Pennsylvania
Court denies teacher’s appeal in student’s 1975 strangling

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania high school teacher serving a life sentence for the 1975 strangulation death of a student has lost an appeal.

The Erie Times-News reports the state Superior Court ruled new DNA evidence is not enough to reopen the case against 80-year-old Raymond Payne.

Payne was convicted of murdering 16-year-old Debbie Gama. He’s serving his sentence at the state prison at Laurel Highlands.

According to evidence, Payne’s DNA didn’t match seminal material found on Gama. Payne claimed this proved he didn’t rape her.

The court found that whether Payne raped Gama was irrelevant to whether he intentionally strangled her. The opinion, released last week, upheld Erie County Judge John Garhart’s previous ruling.

Payne’s lawyer, Anderson Bailey, could not be reached for a comment.

California
Police: Man nabbed trying to rob restaurant just burglarized 

COVINA, Calif. (AP) — Police say a man with a knife tried to rob a Southern California pizza restaurant just a few hours after burglars had already stolen from it.

Covina police Lt. Trevor Gaumer tells the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that burglars broke into Pizza Chalet on Tuesday and made off with $1,500.

As the owner was cleaning up after the burglary less than three hours later, the knife-wielding man walked in and demanded money.

The owner flagged down an officer providing extra patrol help.

Gaumer says the suspect, 19-year-old Ernest Ramirez, didn’t listen to the officer’s order to give himself up, and fought with arriving officers briefly until he was subdued.

Gaumer says Ramirez was treated for minor injuries.

Utah
Comic con court battle

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A court battle between two rival pop-culture conventions in California and Utah is marching on with a judge’s refusal to toss out the case over rights to the phrase “comic con.”

U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia made a split decision Tuesday in the case that started when the well-known San Diego Comic-Con sued upstart rivals in Salt Lake City for trademark violation.

The judge says evidence that more than 100 similar events around the country use some version of the phrase gives weight to Utah’s argument that it’s a general term. But he also pointed to a survey filed by San Diego that found 80 percent of people think “comic con” is a brand name.

The ruling means the three-year-old case will keep proceeding toward trial after settlement talks broke down this summer.

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