National Roundup

Connecticut
State agrees to pay $6.5M to estate of couple killed by tree

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The state of Connecticut has agreed to pay $6.25 million to the estate of a couple killed more than a decade ago when a tree limb fell on their car.

The Hartford Courant reports that a settlement agreement of a pending lawsuit against the state was filed Tuesday with the General Assembly by the state attorney general.

It was signed by state lawyers and lawyers for the sons of Dr. Joseph Stavola and his wife, attorney Jeanne Serocke-Stavola, killed June 9, 2007, when a limb fell on their vehicle on the Merritt Parkway in Westport.
Their sons, 9 and 7 at the time, were in the back seat.

The legislature can now endorse the settlement; reject it; or do nothing, which would result in its automatic approval after 30 days.

New York
Ex-prosecutor, TV personality admits speeding

NICHOLS, N.Y. (AP) — Fox News personality and former New York prosecutor Jeanine Pirro has pleaded guilty to driving 95 mph in a 65 mph zone.

Authorities previously said that a state trooper clocked Pirro’s Cadillac going 119 mph on Route 17 in Nichols, New York, on Nov. 19.

The Journal News says Pirro — who negotiated a plea deal with the Tioga County district attorney’s office — has been fined $300 plus fees and has to take a defensive driving course.

Pirro said in November that she’d been driving for hours to visit her ailing mother and didn’t realize how fast she was going.

Pirro was a Westchester County judge before serving as district attorney from 1994 to 2005.

Virginia
Ex-Navy sailor sentenced for sex crimes against child

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A former U.S. Navy sailor has been sentenced to more than 32 years in prison for sex crimes against a child.

News outlets report 27-year-old Matthew McMeans pleaded guilty last October to rape and use of a computer to commit sex offenses with a minor under the age of 13, among other charges. WAVY-TV reports McMeans was sentenced Tuesday to 90 years in prison with all but 32 years and six months suspended.

The Virginian-Pilot cites court documents that say he knocked on the minor’s window in May 2015 and invited her to his home; she declined and McMeans had her lean out of the window to “engage in sexual contact.”
He also reached out at least once via Snapchat and repeatedly abused the minor sexually.

Illinois
Woman sues Twitter, Google, Facebook over Paris attacks

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago-area woman who was at a cafe in Paris during the 2015 attacks is suing Twitter, Facebook and Google alleging the sites helped aid the growth of the Islamic State group by giving it social media access.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Mandy Palmucci filed the federal lawsuit last week in Chicago.

The lawsuit says she was at a Paris cafe when more than a dozen people were killed there and that she suffered emotionally.

The attacks on cafes, the national stadium and a concert hall left 130 people dead. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Facebook said in a statement there’s no place on its site for those who engage in terrorism or for content that supports such activity.

Twitter and Google didn’t respond to the newspaper’s messages seeking comment.

Similar lawsuits elsewhere have been dismissed on grounds that laws shield online providers from responsibility for content posted by users.

Wisconsin
Supreme Court affirms man’s conviction for woman’s murder

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has affirmed the murder conviction of a Richfield man who got life without parole in the strangulation death of his ex-girlfriend in 2013.

The high court Tuesday rejected arguments that Daniel Bartelt wasn’t properly advised of his rights to remain silent and have a lawyer when detectives questioned him about a nonfatal attack that happened before his ex-girlfriend, Jessie Blodgett, was found dead in her Hartford apartment.

The majority found Bartelt wasn’t in custody before he confessed to the nonfatal attack.  He was arrested and advised of his rights after he confessed. He was arrested in Blodgett’s death the next day.

In a scathing dissent, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley said the majority was engaging in “fantasy.” She said a reasonable person in Bartelt’s position wouldn’t have felt free to leave.

Washington
Bikini barista suit put on hold as city appeals injunction

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The city of Everett, Washington, has filed an appeal after a federal judge ruled in favor of bikini baristas, who sued the city over new dress code ordinances that ban bare skin.

The Daily Herald reports the baristas’ lawsuit has been put on hold as the city appeals the judge’s decision in December to extend an injunction, preventing the city from enforcing its two laws.

The judge last month agreed to stay the case as the appeal proceeds.

A group of baristas and a coffee chain owner filed a lawsuit last year, claiming the city’s regulations violated their civil rights, including freedom of expression.

Judge Marsha Pechman issued the preliminary injunction, saying the city’s ordinances were likely too vague.

The city declined to comment about the appeal.

New Jersey
Double-parked robber receives prison sentence

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The robber who told a New Jersey bank teller to “make it quick” because he was double-parked is going to prison.

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced 60-year-old Patrick O’Boyle of Bayonne to 46 months in prison for robbing Bayonne Community Bank in Jersey City in 2016. O’Boyle had pleaded guilty to bank robbery.

Prosecutors say O’Boyle approached the teller and demanding all “your 100s, 50s, and 20s and make it quick because my car is double parked outside.” Prosecutors say the teller thought O’Boyle was armed because he had his left arm clutched at his side as if he had something under his hooded sweatshirt.

O’Boyle fled the bank with the cash, but was soon caught.

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