National Roundup

Missouri

Sentencing

postponed in death of waitress

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- A 66-year-old Georgia grandfather convicted in January of killing a Missouri waitress nearly 35 years ago will wait at least another month to find out his punishment.

Suburban Atlanta resident Johnny Wright was due in court Monday after a Boone County jury found him guilty in January of second-degree murder in the August 1976 disappearance and death of 23-year-old Rebecca Doisy. The hearing is now set for April 18.

Wright faces 10 to 30 years in prison. He was charged with murder in 1985 but wasn't arrested until 2009 after he sought a criminal background check for a job application.

Police said he lived under an assumed identity for years in Seattle, Texas and most recently Georgia, where he raised a family.

Georgia

Death row inmate pushes for more testing of DNA

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) -- A Georgia inmate sentenced to death or strangling three women with their own stockings says prosecutors are ignoring significant evidence that he may be innocent.

Carlton Gary's attorneys filed a motion Monday seeking additional DNA tests on evidence.

The filing contends that the state's objection to the request is replete with "inconsistent arguments and an inexplicable refusal to deal with or even recognize the significant evidence of innocence" obtained through earlier testing.

Prosecutors have argued Gary is trying to drag out his case.

Gary, known as the Columbus "stocking strangler," was just three hours from being executed in December 2009 when the Georgia Supreme Court ordered a judge to determine whether authorities should conduct DNA testing of evidence -- testing that wasn't available when he was convicted in 1986.

Kentucky

Hearing set to begin for Ky. school shooter

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) -- A federal judge is set to hear testimony over the extent of the mental illness suffered by a man in prison for killing three high school classmates in a shooting at school in1997.

U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell will preside over the hearing in Paducah in the case of 27-year-old Michael Adam Carneal. Carneal wants Russell to find he was mentally incompetent to appeal his guilty plea.

Carneal, who pleaded guilty, but mentally ill in 1998 to killing three classmates and wounding five others at Heath High School near Paducah in 1997 when he was 14 years old, is serving life in prison.

Carneal's family, survivors of the attack and family members of the students killed are expected to attend the hearing.

Carneal is eligible for parole in 2023.

Connecticut

Home invasion defendant read violent books

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut man facing trial for a home invasion in which a mother was strangled and her two daughters were killed in a fire says his co-defendant read books in prison before the crime depicting violent murders and the burning of victims.

Attorneys for Joshua Komisarjevsky (koh-mih-sar-JEFF'-ski) filed court papers Friday blaming Steven Hayes for the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters inside their Cheshire home in 2007. Hayes, who has blamed Komisarjevsky, was sentenced to death last year. Jury selection starts Wednesday for Komisarjevsky.

Komisarjevky's attorneys say Hayes checked out 24 fictional books in prison the year before the home invasion, the majority of which pertain to violent murders including strangulation, rape and arson. Hayes was convicted of raping and strangling Hawke-Petit.

Minnesota

Anti-trust lawsuit against NFL gets another judge

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The federal antitrust lawsuit filed by players against the NFL has been reassigned to a third judge.

The case first went to U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle in Minnesota last Friday. Kyle recused himself for unspecified reasons and it was reassigned to Judge Patrick Schiltz. On Monday, Schiltz cited a conflict of interest because he represented the NFL in several cases as a private practice attorney. The case then went to Judge Susan Richard Nelson.

Deb Bell, interim division manager in the court clerk's office in Minneapolis, says cases are randomly assigned by computer.

The case may still be reassigned. The players want the case before Judge David Doty, who has overseen NFL labor matters since the early 1990s. Bell says that would be up to the judges to decide.

Georgia

Panel up ho lds decision de nying mug shot request

ATLANTA (AP) -- The federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld a court's decision that denied a freelance reporter a request for mug shots.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed a judge's decision that found the U.S. Marshals Service did not have to supply the reporter with a mug shot.

Theodore Karantsalis in July 2009 requested a mug shot of Luis Giro, who had pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges. He said the government should release the photos because it had done so in other cases, notably when the Marshals released booking photos of Bernard Madoff.

The three-judge panel's ruling adopted the Florida judge's ruling that found the photos were gathered for law enforcement purposes and that disclosing them would constitute an unwarranted invasion of Giro's personal privacy.

Missouri

State lawmakers propose ban on Islamic law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Two Missouri lawmakers have proposed legislation aimed at preventing Missouri courts from applying laws from foreign countries and those based on Sharia, the Islamic religious law.

Republican Rep. Don Wells, of Cabool, says his measure is necessary because the Islamic legal system is spreading and could threaten Missouri. Rep. Paul Curtman's bill takes a broader approach to banning the application of foreign laws in Missouri courts. Similar measures have been considered in a handful of other states.

Critics call both measures bigoted and unnecessary.

The Kansas City Star reports that Wells' measure specifically bars judicial consideration of Sharia law, or Islamic religious law.

Curtman, from Pacific, said his bill would prevent judges from ruling on cases using laws from outside the United States.

Published: Tue, Mar 15, 2011

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