National Roundup

Massachusetts
Feds: Plumbing business a front for $6M pot growing operation

CLINTON, Mass. (AP) — Three members of a family and a fourth person have been arrested for allegedly using a legitimate plumbing business as a front for a $6 million marijuana growing operation.

Federal prosecutors say 60-year-old Charles Laverty, his 61-year-old wife Andrea, and their 37-year-old son Thomas are charged with conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

Police say they found more than 1,000 plants at Laverty & Son Plumbing in Clinton and at the family’s Millbury home.

Prosecutors say they used the proceeds from the marijuana operation to pay private school tuition and to make payments on multiple vehicles.

Charles Laverty, who remains free following his Tuesday arrest, says he and his son have medical marijuana cards and they were growing pot for study because they want to open a dispensary.

Pennsylvania
Man admits to putting bleach in pregnant girlfriend’s water

MILLERSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A former central Pennsylvania university student who is accused of trying to abort his girlfriend’s pregnancy by putting bleach in her water has pleaded guilty.

Twenty-one-year-old Theophi­lous Washington pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted homicide of an unborn child. The Washington, D.C. resident had also been charged with attempted homicide of the woman and reckless endangerment. Lancaster County prosecutors say those charges will officially be dropped at sentencing.

Investigators say the former Millersville University student had the woman drink from the bleach-tainted water bottle last year, causing her to fall ill in her dorm.

The woman was two-months pregnant at the time, and has since given birth to the child. Officials say it appears neither the woman nor the child was harmed.

Washington will be sentenced after a background check is completed.

Ohio
Prosecutors: Mom called cops after son boasted about murder

CLEVELAND (AP) — The mother of a man charged with killing a teenage girl he’d recruited to rob a bank contacted police after learning he had bragged about the slaying, a prosecutor said during opening statements at the man’s murder trial.

Assistant Prosecutor Brian Kraft told jurors on Tuesday that 20-year-old Kiechaun Newell was afraid that 17-year-old Breanna Fluitt would rat him and his accomplice out after surveillance photos of Fluitt robbing the bank in August 2016 were made public, Cleveland.com reported.

Newell’s mother went to police days after Fluitt was killed and said she suspected her son was involved because he “had been bragging to them about what he had done,” Kraft said.

Twenty-three-year-old Jeffrey Doss Jr. awaits trial on the same charges as Newell: aggravated murder, kidnapping and robbery. Kraft said that both men were members of a gang called the Black Disciples and that Newell killed Fluitt at Doss’ request. They have pleaded not guilty.

Newell and three other teens picked Fluitt up in a stolen SUV four days after the robbery and drove her to East Cleveland, Kraft said. Newell shot her twice outside the SUV after telling everyone to switch seats so he could make out with her, the prosecutor said. He then shot her three more times as she lay on the ground, Kraft said.

One of Newell’s attorneys cautioned jurors during his opening statement that the three teens received plea deals that kept their cases in Juvenile Court in exchange for their trial testimony against Newell.

Kraft said prosecutors will play at trial a recording of Newell confessing to East Cleveland police. Some of Newell’s family members are expected to testify.

Georgia
Appeals court rules against immigrants over in-state tuition

ATLANTA (AP) — An appeals court has ruled against immigrants who have been granted temporary status to stay in the U.S. by saying state colleges and universities in Georgia aren’t required to let them pay in-state tuition.

Georgia’s state colleges and universities require verification of “lawful presence” in the U.S. for in-state tuition. The Board of Regents has said students with temporary permission to stay under a 2012 program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, don’t meet that requirement.

A judge in January ordered the university system to allow these students to pay in-state tuition if they otherwise qualify. The Georgia Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed that ruling.

Charles Kuck, a lawyer for the immigrants, said Wednesday that they will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania
Scout leader charged with smashing 2 boys’ heads together

PINE GROVE, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania Boy Scout leader accused of smashing two Scouts’ heads together at a camp meeting has been criminally charged.

State police on Tuesday announced charges of harassment, simple assault and child endangerment against 28-year-old Matthew McKeon.

The charges stem from an Oct. 14 meeting at Hawk Mountain Boy Scout Camp in Schuylkill County.

Police say the Birdsboro man discussed two boys’ involvement in a Cub Scout Halloween costume contest, then knocked their heads together. The boys complained of concussion-like symptoms afterward.

The Hawk Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America called the allegations “unacceptable” and removed McKeon as a Scout leader.

A man who returned a call to McKeon’s home declined to comment on the charges.

West Virginia
Man sentenced for shooting wife, dismembering

WELCH, W.Va. (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to shooting his wife and dismembering her body last year has been sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports 36-year-old Woody Alfred Wood Jr. pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Rebecca Wood in August, and was sentenced on Monday.

According to court records, Wood shot his wife after arguing with her in March 2016. Wood then dismembered her body, placed the parts in trash bags and buried them in the basement.

McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish says he believes Wood had help disposing of his wife’s body, but this has not been proven. An investigation continues into the possibility that someone helped Wood dispose of a bloodstained mattress.

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