Court Roundup


Man charged with pouring acid on ex-girlfriend

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) -- A Hot Springs man is charged with felony battery for allegedly pouring acid on his former girlfriend as the two fought at her home.

The Sentinel-Record reports that 32-year-old Justice A. Mitchell was arrested shortly after the 10:30 a.m. Sunday incident.

Police say that in addition to pouring acid on the woman's back, Mitchell also dumped some of the acid on her furniture and a slot machine. He's charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief for the property damage.

Mitchell is being held without bond in the Garland County Jail and has a May 31 court appearance. If convicted as charged, he could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The police report said the woman had visible redness on her back but didn't indicate whether she sought hospital treatment.


County official faces federal fraud charges

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah federal prosecutors have filed fraud and money laundering charges against a former Morgan County administrator who allegedly paid off personal debts with more than $450,000 taken from public coffers.

In court papers, prosecutors say Garth B. Day used his authority as the county's council administrator to transfer county funds into his own bank accounts.

Day is charged in Salt Lake City's U.S. District Court with six felonies, including wire fraud, making a false loan or credit application, money laundering and theft.

He's set for an initial court appearance Tuesday.

The 41-year-old Day was named the county council's first administrator in 2008.

He was originally charged with 43 felonies in state court. That case was dismissed in April.

A message left for defense attorney Amy Hugie was not immediately returned.


Ill. man pleads guilty in internet sex case

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- A Chicago man accused of traveling to New England to have sex with a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl has pleaded guilty.

Mani Batchu, a former psychiatry resident at the University of Illinois Medical Center, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield to charges including transportation of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 15. He faces a maximum of 24 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the 29-year-old Batchu met the Amherst girl online in 2009, lying about his name and claiming he was 17, then "groomed" her for sex by buying her gifts. Authorities alleged he flew and drove to New England and Florida to have sex with the girl.

Batchu's lawyers have claimed the girl lied about her age.


New testing sought for suspect in pastor killing

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- Prosecutors in southwestern Illinois are pressing anew to determine whether a man accused of gunning down a pastor during a Sunday sermon two years ago is still mentally unfit to stand trial.

Terry Sedlacek (SEHD'-lak) was charged with first-degree murder in Fred Winters' March 2009 death at First Baptist Church in Maryville.

Sedlacek later was deemed mentally unfit for trial and has been in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Madison County prosecutors and public defenders agreed then that a psychologist would testify that Sedlacek is a schizophrenic who likely won't give his attorneys accurate information or understand the legal process.

Prosecutors wonder if that's still the case. On Tuesday, they planned to ask a judge to allow for Sedlacek to be tested by a Chicago-area psychiatrist.


Northwestern to host former Supreme Court justice

CHICAGO (AP) -- Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens plans to visit his alma mater, the Northwestern University School of Law.

The suburban Chicago school said Monday that Stevens would deliver the main convocation address on Friday. On Thursday the school plans a symposium called "The Legacy of Justice Stevens." A celebratory dinner is planned that evening.

Stevens retired in June 2010 after serving 35 years on the Supreme Court. He graduated from Northwestern in 1947.


Juror says defendant's deception swayed panel

WATERLOO, Ill. (AP) -- A juror in the trial of a southwestern Illinois man convicted of strangling his wife and their two sons says the defendant's apparent deception swung the jury against him.

Christopher Coleman was found guilty last week in Monroe County in the May 2009 killings and was sentenced to life in prison Monday.

Juror Kimberly Ferrari of Pinckneyville tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the panel's 12 members believed Coleman was the killer but several initially struggled with finding him guilty because there was no direct evidence against him.

But jurors all agreed to convict after noting that time stamps on some cell phone photos Coleman exchanged with his mistress showed their affair actually had begun a couple of months before the mistress testified it did.


Ex-prison prison guard sentenced for child abuse

ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- A former Pennsylvania prison guard has been sentenced to six to 12 years in prison for child endangerment and simple assault charges against four adopted children.

Forty-one-year-old Annissa Schoolfield, who now lives in Cleveland, was sentenced Monday. She was convicted at a trial in March, although she was acquitted of a more serious charge of aggravated assault for allegedly putting a plastic bag over her adopted daughter's head.

Schoolfield lived in the Erie suburb of Millcreek Township when she allegedly beat and otherwise abused the children from March 2007 to January 2010. She lost her job at the State Correctional Institution-Albion after the charges were filed in April 2010.

The children now live her ex-husband, Eugene Schoolfield, in Youngstown, Ohio, who tells the Erie Times-News he's thankful the children have been heard and believed.


Uzbekistan man sentenced in human trafficking case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The man who admitted to managing a large labor racketeering enterprise out of Kansas City has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Thirty-two-year-old Abrorkhodja Askarkhodjaev was sentenced Monday in what prosecutors say was a 14-state human trafficking ring. The 32-year-old Uzbekistan native pleaded guilty in October to four charges, after originally facing more than 100 counts.

The Kansas City Star reports that he will be deported when his sentence is completed.

Prosecutors say the ring lured foreigners to Kansas City by promising good jobs but turned them into slave workers who were threatened with deportation if they complained. The scheme made more than $6 million.

Eleven other people were charged in the case, which prosecutors say was one of the largest labor racketeering schemes ever uncovered.

Published: Wed, May 11, 2011