National Roundup

Virginia
Ex-congressman gets sentenced reduced, released

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former congressman convicted nearly a decade ago on bribery charges after he was famously caught with $90,000 cash stashed in his freezer has seen his sentence reduced to time served.

The resentencing hearing Friday in federal court for William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, reduces his sentence from 13 years to five.

The reduced sentence came on the joint recommendation of prosecutors and defense attorneys in the aftermath of a Supreme Court ruling that makes it more difficult to convict public officials on bribery charges. Jefferson was freed from prison last month after the judge tossed out seven of 10 conviction counts against him.

The 70-year-old Jefferson said after the hearing he’s grateful to his lawyers, family and friends for their support and that he wants to be active in the community.

Vermont
Police: Retiree made ricin, tested it on neighbors

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A woman who lives at a Vermont retirement community has been accused of making ricin and testing the deadly toxin on other residents by putting it on their food or in beverages over a period of weeks.

Investigators say Betty Miller told them she wanted to “injure herself” with the poison and was testing its effectiveness on others.

Investigators said in court documents filed Thursday in Burlington that Miller told them she made the ricin from castor bean plant seeds. She said she drove herself to a hospital on Monday to be evaluated.

Police were called to the Wake Robin senior living community in Shelburne on Tuesday. They said no other residents reported symptoms of ricin poisoning.

Miller was scheduled to be arraigned Friday. It wasn’t immediately known if she had a lawyer.

Minnesota
Anonymous driver sends police $1,000 30 years after crash

SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A person who apparently sped off after hitting a parked car in a Minneapolis suburb more than 30 years ago anonymously sent $1,000 to local police this month and asked them to pass it on to the car’s owner, if possible.

The sender also sent a letter to the South St. Paul police department asking for forgiveness, The Pioneer Press reported.

“I was quite shocked,” police Chief Bill Messerich said. “It’s not something you see every day.”

The note says the anonymous driver hit a parked car one evening in 1985 or 1986. The sender expressed remorse and requested police try to track down the vehicle’s owner. The note says the money could be donated to a police charity if the victim isn’t located.

“I am sorry for any inconvenience that I have caused and I ask for your forgiveness,” the letter says.

Police records don’t go that far back so the money was put into the department’s general account, Messerich said. It will be used to buy new equipment or technology.

“I guess this was just weighing on this person’s conscience for over 30 years and they came to a certain point in their life where they wanted to try to make things right if they could,” Messerich said.

City Administrator Steve Kind has been in city government for 35 years. He said he hasn’t seen a similar donation.

“It’s a pleasant surprise,” he said. “It’s nice to be the recipient, so there’s that part of it. But it’s also good to see there’s redemption after all those years.”
 

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