National Roundup

 

South Carolina
900 indictments from 1 day thrown out, but charges persist

YORK, S.C. (AP) - The more than 900 indictments issued by a South Carolina grand jury in a single day have been thrown out.

Twenty-seven lawyers had challenged York County's June indictments, saying grand jurors averaged 39 seconds per case. The Herald cites Circuit Court Judge Dan Hall's Friday ruling that said grand jurors had an "unnecessary and unreasonable burden." Prosecutor Kevin Brackett argued they chose to hear all 904 cases in one day.

But Judge Hall's ruling neither throws out the pending criminal charges against more than 400 people nor orders the seating of a new grand jury. No appeals have yet been filed.

Brackett's office is consulting with the Office of the Attorney General to determine the order's implications. Defense attorney Gary Lemel says defense lawyers are considering appealing for a new grand jury.

South Carolina
Man accused of wanting to eat child sentenced to probation

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - A man who South Carolina authorities say wanted to enslave and eat a child has been sentenced to probation.

News outlets quote court records as saying 36-year-old Justin Teeter Bensing pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor and was sentenced Aug. 9 to 10 years in prison, but the sentence was suspended to five years of probation.

A sentencing sheet The Greenville News obtained from the Greenville County Clerk of Court's Office says Bensing was diagnosed with autism and considered low risk. The judge said no prior criminal charges were also among the factors determining Bensing's sentence.

Bensing had been accused of soliciting an undercover officer he thought was a girl. Bensing's attorney James Brehm said Saturday that the cannibalism comments were Bensing joking with someone else and unrelated to the investigation.

Florida
Priest accused of stealing $200K-plus from church resigns

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A South Florida priest has resigned after being accused of stealing more than $200,000 from the church.

The Archdiocese of Miami said in a statement that Father Henryk Pawelec has paid the money back to St. Coleman Catholic Church in Pompano Beach. But he still could face legal action after the church reported the incident to the state attorney's office.

Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski said the breach of trust "saddens and disappoints" him.

The Sun Sentinel reports the archdiocese reviewed the congregation's financial records after receiving reports that Pawelec was diverting money. He agreed to resign on Wednesday.

Parish Adminstrator Father Michael Garcia has taken Pawelec's place.

South Carolina
Sheriff: Woman didn't feed ex's dog for 30 days

LAURENS, S.C. (AP) - Authorities in South Carolina say a woman refused to feed her ex-boyfriend's dog for at least a month.

Laurens County Sheriff's Capt. Chris Martin tells news outlets Elizabeth Lena James said she intentionally didn't feed or care for the dog left at her house. Martin says she later changed her story, saying the dog refused to eat provided food.

The 16-month-old mastiff mix was found tied to a tree, emaciated, malnourished and full of maggots and worms. Now called "Champ," he's being treated at a 24-hour veterinarian clinic in Columbia.

A rescue group says he should weigh more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) at his age, but currently weighs only 50 pounds (23 kilograms).

James is charged with ill treatment of animals and is out on $15,000 bail. It's unclear whether she has a lawyer.

Texas
Police: Man yells 'Jesus is coming' before stabbing toddler

LEWISVILLE, Texas (AP) - Police in Texas say a man fatally stabbed his 16-month-old son and was shot in the leg by a neighbor who tried to stop the attack.

The stabbing was reported Sunday afternoon in the courtyard of an apartment complex in Lewisville, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Dallas. Lewisville Police Capt. Jesse Hunter says the toddler was rushed to a hospital but later died from his wounds.

According to Hunter, witnesses told police that the man carried the child out of an apartment and yelled "Jesus is coming" before the attack.

Dallas TV station KDFW reports that a neighbor watching from a second-floor balcony shot the suspect in the leg, ending the attack. Police say the neighbor will not face any charges.

Florida
Police: Teen stole AR-15 from deputy, dances on Instagram

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) - An Instagram video tipped off police looking for an assault rifle that had been stolen from a sheriff's deputy's unmarked car.

An arrest affidavit says a 17-year-old teen is accused of taking the weapon and tactical gear on Aug. 14. Boynton Beach police arrested him Saturday night after he was seen on an Instagram video holding the AR-15 in the air as he danced to rap music. Investigators say the social media video gave them grounds for a search warrant. The rifle was found under the teen's mattress.

The deputy told police the items, including two loaded magazines, a Taser and a ballistic helmet, were taken from his car while it was parked outside a shopping center.

The teen is charged with grand theft and burglary.

Oklahoma
Teen competent to stand trial for murder

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A Tulsa County jury has found a 17-year-old competent to stand trial on murder, rape and 21 other felony charges.

The jury on Friday decided that Deonte Green is fit for trial in the October 2017 fatal shooting of Broken Arrow middle school teacher Shane Anderson and of raping an 81-year-old woman in a separate incident.

Green, who is charged as an adult, faces additional charges that include weapons violations, kidnapping, burglary, larceny and attempted animal cruelty.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Green was 16 when prosecutors say he forced his way into Anderson's home in Tulsa, then fatally shot him in front of his two children.

Earlier this week Green was charged with and pleaded not guilty to assaulting a jailer.

Published: Tue, Aug 21, 2018

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