National Roundup

Grand jury indicts 8 in teen's stomping death

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) -- A grand jury has indicted eight suspected gang members on charges of first-degree murder in the stomping death of a 14-year-old boy near a Stockton park.

The Record of Stockton reports that the eight teens and young adults appeared in San Joaquin County Superior Court on Wednesday, when they learned of the grand jury's decision in the Aug. 6 death of Rin Ros.

They did not enter pleas although they have all previously pleaded not guilty.

The grand jury's Feb. 9 indictment takes the place of a preliminary hearing and brings the defendants closer to trial.

Authorities say the eight teens and young men are members of the Crazy Town Crips gang. They have all been charged as adults.

Investigators say Ros' cousin told them Ros was attacked because he was trying to leave the gang.

Delaware

Appeal request refused in pediatrician case

DOVER, Del. (AP) -- The Delaware Supreme Court has refused to accept an interim appeal of a judge's ruling that the state medical society had no duty to alleged victims of an accused pedophile pediatrician to report him to authorities.

Last month's ruling came in a lawsuit filed by a 12-year-old girl and her mother, who were seeking to represent scores of alleged victims of Earl Bradley in a class action.

The judge said he would allow the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint against the medical society defendants, and that he was willing to certify an appeal to the Supreme Court before entering a final order.

But the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to accept the appeal, noting that an amended complaint had been filed.

Arizona

Inmate lawyers fight import of execution drug

PHOENIX (AP) -- Attorneys are asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to reject a request from 13 state attorneys general for help acquiring a drug used in executions.

The drug sodium thiopental is still used in Arizona and some other states during executions. The drug is no longer made in the U.S.

Arizona and other states have imported thiopental from Great Britain since June.

The Arizona Republic reports attorneys representing Arizona Death Row inmates recently sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stop the agency from allowing states to import thiopental for executions.

The defense attorneys told Holder the drug is not FDA-approved. They also want their suit heard in court before the drug is allowed in.

Utah

Board denies parole for Smart kidnapper Barzee

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Utah parole board has denied parole to Elizabeth Smart kidnapper Wanda Barzee.

The Deseret News reports Barzee's next hearing will be in June 2018.

Parole board Chairman Jim Hatch wrote in the announcement that Barzee will be taken into custody in Utah after she serves her federal term.

The 65-year-old Barzee pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges in 2009. She also pleaded guilty in state court to the attempted kidnapping of Smart's cousin in 2002, drawing the state sentence of up to 15 years.

Her estranged husband, Brian David Mitchell, will be sentenced May 25 in federal court and faces life in prison.

Illinois

Waukegan woman gets 25 years in daughter's death

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) -- A Waukegan woman who pleaded guilty to stabbing her 6-year-old daughter to death has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Nelly Vazquez-Salazar initially pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges and was expected to mount an insanity defense. But she changed her plea to guilty in December. She was sentenced Wednesday in Lake County Circuit Court.

Police say Vazquez-Salazar stabbed her daughter, Evelyn Vazquez, 11 times in the neck, face and arms on April 7, 2008. Officers say the woman originally told them her daughter was possessed by a demon and had tried to kill her.

South Dakota

Testimony ends in Costner sculpture dispute

DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) -- Courtroom testimony has ended in a dispute between actor Kevin Costner and an artist he commissioned to create a bronze sculpture for a resort in South Dakota's Black Hills that has not materialized after 20 years.

Judge Randall Macy has given attorneys until April 1 to submit written briefs. He's deciding whether there was agreement between Costner and artist Peggy Detmers on the site where the artwork now sits.

The Rapid City Journal reports that under terms of the contract, if the two did not agree on a site, Costner was to sell the sculpture and split the proceeds. Costner says there was agreement; Detmers says she had little say in the site.

The sculpture is of 14 bison and three American Indian hunters. Detmers says it's worth $4 million.

Nebraska

2 ordered in Omaha to pay $120K for teddy bear spy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A federal judge in Omaha has ordered a woman and her father to pay $120,000 for bugging a teddy bear so they could spy on her ex-husband.

The judge ruled that Dianna Divingnzzo and Sam Divingnzzo violated wiretapping laws from January to June 2008.

Court documents say Dianna Divingnzzo put a recording device inside her daughter's teddy bear in an attempt to gather information for the divorced couple's custody case. A state judge has ruled the recordings couldn't be used in court.

The ex-husband, William Lewton, and five others recorded by the teddy bear filed a federal lawsuit in 2009.

North Carolina

Duke ends suit with insurer on lacrosse settlement

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Duke University has ended a lawsuit against an insurance company stemming from the three lacrosse players at the school who were falsely accused of rape.

Documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro show Duke and the National Union Fire Insurance Co. have agreed to drop all claims and counterclaims in the case. Each side also agrees to pay its own legal costs.

Further information about the agreement hasn't been made public.

Duke had sued in 2008, saying the insurer wouldn't cover the costs of the university's out-of-court settlement with the three players.

The insurance company responded that Duke didn't tell the company about the settlement, in violation of its contract.

Published: Fri, Feb 25, 2011

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