National Roundup

Man convicted in 1976 murder eligible for parole

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) — A man serving life in prison for killing a northwest Iowa woman when he was 14 years old is now eligible for parole after he was resentenced in accordance with a recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling.

The Sioux City Journal reports that John Mulder was resentenced Thursday to life in prison, but with no mandatory minimum number of years to serve before he can ask the Iowa Board of Parole to release him.

The board will still decide whether Mulder will ever be released.

The Supreme Court in April ruled that Mulder’s previous sentence failed to meet juvenile sentencing standards established by a court decision last year.

Mulder was originally sentenced a mandatory life in prison without parole for the 1976 shooting death of 55-year-old Jean Homan, of Alton.

Execution date set for longest-serving inmate

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court set an execution date Thursday for the state’s longest-serving inmate, a crucial step needed to carry out Nebraska’s first execution in 21 years."

The court issued a death warrant for Carey Dean Moore, who has spent nearly four decades on death row for the 1979 shootings deaths of two Omaha cab drivers. Justices set the execution date for Aug. 14 at midnight, a few weeks before the state’s supply of a key lethal injection drug is set to expire.

“The Department of Correctional Services is prepared to carry out the court’s order,” Suzanne Gage, a spokeswoman for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, said in a statement.

After years of delays, the 60-year-old Moore has stopped fighting state officials’ efforts to execute him, and he recently accused them of being too “lazy or incompetent” to carry out the sentence. He filed a motion in May to dismiss his court-appointed lawyer, but the state Supreme Court denied his request. Moore also ordered his attorney to stop fighting the state’s attempts to execute him.

“At this point, I do not intend to file anything” to try to stop the execution, said Moore’s lawyer, Jeff Pickens.

Nebraska has struggled for decades to carry out executions, despite its deep conservative leanings. The state’s last execution took place in 1997, using the electric chair.

The state has since adopted a lethal injection protocol, but has struggled to carry out executions because of legal challenges and difficulties in obtaining the necessary drugs. Gov. Pete Ricketts’ administration faced criticism in 2015 after the state corrections department sent $54,000 to an India-based broker for lethal injection drugs it never received.

State lawmakers abolished capital punishment in 2015, overriding Ricketts’ veto, but voters reinstated the following year through a petition drive partially financed by the Republican governor.

Nebraska has 11 men on death row.

In court filings, corrections Director Scott Frakes said the state’s supply of potassium chloride —a key drug in Nebraska’s protocol — will expire on Aug. 31. State officials haven’t disclosed where they obtained the drug.

Executions for Moore have been scheduled before, but were thwarted by legal issues. An execution date was set in 2007, but was called off after the Nebraska Supreme Court declared the electric chair unconstitutional. The court scheduled him again to die 2011, but that ruling was halted amid questions over the legality of the state’s purchase of lethal injection drugs.

State officials are trying to forge ahead with an execution despite a judge’s order last month to release public records that would identify the supplier of its lethal injection drugs. Nebraska officials have appealed the ruling in lawsuits filed by the state’s largest newspapers and a civil liberties group.

“We are deeply disappointed that the court would issue a death warrant when multiple cases relevant to the death penalty are currently pending in the courts,” said Amy Miller, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska.
Miller said it was “incredibly troubling” that the court would allow an execution to go forward even though the governor, attorney general and Department of Correctional Services have not honored Nebraska’s open records laws.

State high court: Man charged in 1987 rape can’t be tried

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A man charged with raping an 8-year-old Billings girl after DNA evidence linked him to the 1987 case cannot be tried because the statute of limitations has run out, the Montana Supreme Court ruled in an opinion released Thursday.

The court ordered charges dismissed against Ronald Dwight Tipton, the Billings Gazette reported .

Tipton had pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual intercourse without consent after DNA testing linked him to the case in 2014.

The statute of limitations in the case expired in 2001. Under a 2007 law, a DNA match would add a year to any expired statute of limitations in sexual assault or rape cases. The state argued the law was intended to solve cold cases and applied to Tipton.

The Supreme Court disagreed, citing a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution “prohibits the government from bringing new charges once the state’s statute of limitations for the crime has expired,” according to a synopsis of Thursday’s opinion.

Another man was convicted of the rape and spent 15 years in prison before DNA evidence exonerated him in 2002.

In November, District Judge Mary Jane Knisely denied a motion by Tipton to dismiss the charges, saying the 2007 law was clearly meant to apply retroactively.

Tipton’s attorney asked the Supreme Court to weigh in, arguing the 2007 law did not contain any provision that would make it retroactive.

The DNA match to Tipton happened after he agreed to provide a sample as part of a suspended sentence in a drug case.

Driver pretends to be jogger after wrecking his car

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Police say a 19-year-old man flipped his car in Madison, Wisconsin, then fled the scene, removed some clothes and pretended to be a jogger unconnected to the wreck.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the unidentified man made a lane change Tuesday evening at the same time as another car. He overcorrected, hit the shoulder and his car overturned.

Police Chief Mike Koval says the suspect fled and removed some clothing. When officers caught up with him, he told them he was an “uninvolved jogger.”

Officers ticketed the man for failure to have control, hit and run and operating after revocation.

Police say tests showed the man wasn’t impaired.